Bryce over at Local Politechs wrote a great analysis of online actions and the types of advertisements that drive engagement. He cites a study that notes 16% of online adults sent a campaign related email (25 million people) and 4% contributed money to a candidate running for office in 2010. He argues, and we agree, that as usage and political spending increase online these numbers will continue to rise.
We believe the difference between successful and antiquated online strategies will revolve around the intention of online outreach. If it’s just another avenue for messaging, then the internet, like it’s fore-bearers, will display diminishing returns over time and as budgets increase. But, if the internet and social media are used to empower campaign supporters with tools and direction, then we’re on the cusp of a transformational re-imagining of campaign strategy. The internet allows for a crowd-sourced, decentralized campaign – one where campaign loyalists take responsibility for moving their neighbors up the engagement ladder, from undecided to persuaded voter.
All that’s needed are candidates whom their communities trust. Suddenly, when that occurs, the 16% of adults sending emails will have a noticeable affect on the voting patterns of their undecided neighbors.