UK General Election 2015: The digital battleground

UK General Election 2015: The digital battleground

As you’re probably aware, David Cameron’s Conservative Party claimed a somewhat surprising yet definitive victory in the UK general election last month. The Conservative Party’s digital prowess has received widespread praise from across the communications industry; and with good reason. Let’s take a look at a few of the many insights that can be gleaned from the way they executed their communications strategy online.

Firstly, the Conservatives chose their mediums smartly and effectively. Sure, the notion of Facebook as a leading platform for brands and publishers to achieve their objectives has undoubtedly taken a battering of late, but with 53% of the UK population on Facebook (and a healthy cross section of ages, genders and geographical locations), it’s a sizeable audience to overlook.

The Conservatives targeted Facebook (as well as YouTube and email) as one of their key platforms over the course of the election, with impressive results. Both Facebook and YouTube enable precisely the kind of profiling a targeted political campaign needs: where your audience is, their age, their gender, and what they care about, and thereby allows you to supply them with content that is relevant.

In the political sphere, that means showcasing the policies that will actively speak to a particular demographic.

The Conservative election campaign made it clear that Facebook, YouTube pre-roll ads and email, when integrated in to a wider, holistic communications strategy are hugely effective tools in the digital arsenal.

Secondly, it also served as a proof point for something we’ve probably all known for a long time: content marketing is the model of marketing that brands should be using and political parties are no exception to this rule.

The need to distribute relevant, interesting and consistent content to attract and engage a clearly defined audience to achieve your objective (in this case- to secure votes) is paramount in creating active and engaged stakeholders in the political process.

Finally, while the 2010 general election saw increased digital activity on the part of the key political players, 2015 was an election truly fought on two fronts. The digital and the physical battlegrounds each played a distinct role; dovetailing to ultimately work to reinforce the messages the public were receiving while they were out doing their shopping, driving past a billboard or scrolling through their Facebook feed while on the train home from work.

Beyond anything else, what the 2015 general election has proven is that digital and content marketing are now firmly embedded in the political, and ultimately the democratic fabric of the United Kingdom, and those that fail to embrace new mediums and new strategies for communication, will be left out of much of the conversation.

Lydia holds a Bachelor of History from the University of Sussex as well as a Masters in History (Genocide Studies) from the University of Amsterdam. Her communications experience includes working in the not-for-profit, public and now private sectors. Fortunately, given her chosen career path, writing is her absolute favourite activity (especially when flanked by a coffee and a dog).

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