Social Media Distrust and Political Marketing

social distrustBy Jeremy Sneed

Pertaining to political marketing, multiple tactics and strategies need to be implemented in order to secure the full potential success behind any candidate running for office. One of the most crucial aspects is that of GOTV. While some marketing efforts are to influence and sway voters towards a certain candidate, perhaps even a larger amount of efforts should be made simply in getting a candidate’s pre-existing voters out to the polls on election day.

When it comes to GOTV, digital marketing is on the forefront of methodologies to influence voters across the United States.

Conceivably the most vital group that needs this influence is that of young people.

We see too large a sum of money being spent on social media in efforts to GOTV in political campaigns, but is this effort worth it? With so much backlash towards Facebook in 2018 alone, it seems now is perhaps the best time to move marketing spend away from the social media platform. Instead we believe in allotting that spend to more advantageous digital marketing efforts.

 

social distrustFacebook’s Efforts to Salvage Reputation

If you caught our last post on the topic, you know that Facebook has been under quite a hefty deal of fire this year. In light of the fiasco involving Facebook and the 2016 United States’ presidential election, the social media conglomerate has been a forefront topic of discussion throughout 2018.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been in front of Congress on behalf of Facebook, defending the platform in regards the alleged influence over the election. Despite hours of testifying and questions across the board from representatives from all corners of the nation, little to no enforcement came from Zuckerberg’s time in front of Congress.

What really came of all of this Facebook madness? Facebook implemented a more upfront approach in regards to its users and the data it collects on them. However, this clearly was a mere effort to gain trust back from the public at large to preserve stature and popularity in the online social realm. The result seemed to have been in vain as only around 9% of users engaged in Facebook’s efforts to show its users what data it has and continues to collect on them.

Nonetheless, while Facebook made some efforts to allow slightly enhanced transparency, overall its policies did not change.

 

social distrustWhat Came of Facebook’s Fiasco?

Facebook did what they believed could strengthen their reputation back to being the largest, most trusted social media platform on the web. For running political advertisements, users now have to become a verified user on the platform. However, it didn’t seem that the public was quite enthralled with their efforts.

Amidst Facebook’s efforts to regain the public’s trust, Pew Research Center found some unforeseen statistics behind user’s relationship with the social media platform.

According to Pew, over 50% of users adjusted their privacy settings within the social media platform. By doing this, users were able to lessen the amount of data collected on them that was then used to target them through advertising.

Even more boldly than this, over 40% of users took a break from Facebook for at least a few weeks, having no engagement with the social media platform whatsoever.

Lastly, over 25% of users admitted they deleted the Facebook app from their phone completely. This came after the realization that Facebook tracked user’s habits and actions on their phone even after leaving the Facebook app.

Altogether, a stunning 75% of Facebook users admitted they had taken one or more of the above actions to distance themselves from the platform. As if social media targeting wasn’t already skewed enough, this change in user behavior within Facebook made it more difficult than ever to accurately target users through the platform.

What may come as a shock is the demographic data behind this user distancing. According to Pew’s study, the age group most likely to have engaged in deleting the Facebook app were those between the ages of 18 and 29. On top of this, 64% of these 18 - 29 year olds were said to have increased their privacy settings versus only 33% of users 65 and older.

When taking all of this data together to come to an overall assessment, 75% of Facebook users lost some trust in the platform and because of that distanced themselves from it, with a much more sizeable portion of that being young people aged between 18 and 29.

 

social distrustDemographics Behind the Voting Population

Given that the largest group that lost trust in Facebook was that of young people, it’s important to note what role these young people play in regards to the voting population.

According to a different Pew Research Center study recently recorded in 2016, Millennials made up 27% of the eligible voting population, with a population around 62 million. Along with this, post-Millennials added an additional 3% to this younger generation’s number of eligible voters, being a community of over 7 million in population.

This means that altogether, the youngest generations combined account for 30% of the overall U.S. voting population. This is just short of the 31%, 70 million in population, that Baby Boomers make up of the voting population.

What is even more interesting behind these statistics is that Baby Boomers reached their peak population in 2004, compared to Millennials and post-Millennials who continue to be on the rise for years to come.

According to a CNN article: “In 2024 -- when it would not be unreasonable to expect the first millennial on a presidential ticket -- the States of Change project forecasts millennials and post-millennials will comprise nearly 45% of all eligible voters while baby boomers will shrink to just over one-fourth.”

An unfortunate twist, Millennials don’t come out to the polls in numbers that uphold their position as such a large portion of the population. Pew found that on average only 50% of Millennials turn out to the polls for elections, compared to the 69% of Baby Boomers that come out to vote.

However, as each year a growing number of Millennials become of a higher age, it’s likely that an increasing number of them will come out to the polls to cast their votes. Voter turnout tends to have an upswing starting around the age of 30-35 as individuals grow into a more stable, dependable level of adulthood, showing out to t he polls in higher numbers as they take a more affirmative stance on issues.

While Millennials may not turn out in numbers that some would hope yet, to remain ahead of the game, they’re a community to already begin influencing. With the overall increasing number of voter-eligible Millennials, and the sure to increase number of Millennial voter turnout, it’s clear that this is a population to be leveraged now.

 

What’s to Learn?

GOTV among young people is more important now than ever. When it comes to truly lifting voter turnout and influencing end election results, Millennials are one key to success.

It’s a common stereotype that we have seen implemented in the past to use social media to target Millennials, with the mentality that all Millennials are on social media like Facebook and trust the platform. However, times are rapidly changing, especially in light of the recent travesty around Facebook.

What’s great is that Millennials are still online, and are online now more than ever, even if it’s less and less on Facebook. According to research done by Statista, between desktop and mobile devices, Millennials spend an average of 4.5 hours online every single day.

Thankfully through El Toro technology, we can target this crucial voting population while they’re online. Through our proprietary IP Targeting technology, we can target this group within their homes and across all of their devices. By doing this, we can ensuring accuracy and efficiency, targeting them with some of the highest precision of anyone in the digital marketing realm.

 

 

By: Jeremy Sneed

jeremy.sneed@eltoro.com