Last Friday, we had 3 amazing speakers that discussed the roles that Google, CurrentTV, and Facebook played in the success of the Obama campaign.
Current TV, which is a social news network, took the conversation that people were having on twitter and pushed it through the TV. (For a taste of what the company does, check out current.com). So, as viewers watched the debates, they could see live commentary from twitter. The company was able to take a fragmented audience and bring them together. People felt involved in the political process. They felt heard.
Facebook helped to propel a grass roots movement. I’m still in awe over the power and reach of this social networking tool. (When Facebook placed a register to vote banner on its site, targeting adults in Iowa, participation within this demographic increased 3000%)! The company launched politician pages, teamed with news networks like CNN, and served as a platform for several applications that were used to attract donations.
I think Lexicon and Causes are applications that could be useful for our final class project. Lexicon tracks where people are talking about what. Currently, the topics that can be search is limited, but I believe this tool has some amazing potential. Causes is one of the most popular Facebook applications. For the Obama campaign, a user could do things such as donate his/her status update or airline miles.
Eligible voters who didn’t vote cited a lack of information as a primary reason for not casting a ballot. This is where Google stepped in. The company increased access to trusted information and made it easier for people to participate. They were involved in a variety of projects, from directing users to the appropriate voting locations to handing out video cameras at the Iowa caucus so that the individual experience could be documented. Throughout the campaign, it is estimated that 1800 videos were uploaded for 110mm views. This is equivalent to 46mm in paid advertising—clearly a smart use free of resources.
So, what innovation should we expect in the 2012 campaign? It seems mobile technology will play a larger role. However, I think the more interesting questions that stems from this presentation are: 1) how scalable are the methods that were used in the US election and 2) will traditional brands more willing to increase their use of social media following the success of the Obama campaign? The answer to these two questions is still to be determined. Moreover, I secretly wonder how effective all these methods will be once they are common practice for every marketing campaign. At that point, will we just be lost in a deluge of information, unable to process it all? I guess that is where innovation will have to step in once again.