Digital Marketing Strategy and the Twindex
Politics and marketing have a lot in common. They’re both about creating positive sentiment towards a particular brand and generating a return on investment. In politics that return is counted in votes whereas in marketing it’s about generating sales.
You often see similarities in political and marketing strategy too. Both use tools like advertising, social media engagement and press statements to build awareness. And analysis of the success or failure of these campaigns is vital for success in both.
For digital marketing strategy, social media analysis provides a huge amount of valuable information. We analyze our social media activity in terms of engagement and sentiment. We try to get a read on how our market feels about the brand and identify ways to build the brand and generate sales.
Digital political strategy is a reasonably new aspect to political strategy, and they analyze the same trends that we do in marketing. For this year’s US Presidential election, political social media monitoring has been brought to the masses with the Twindex.
The Twindex Measures Political Sentiment on Twitter
The Twindex is a political index launched by Twitter last month to measure the popularity of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the run up to the November elections. It works by analyzing the sentiment in tweets about the candidates against that of other topics and generating a daily score for both candidates. Today’s Twindex has Obama’s 35 ahead of Romney’s 19. It also tells us that Obama has lost 26 since yesterday while Romney has only lost 5.
In theory, this form of political analysis should yield more honest and accurate results than standard polls. Because respondents to surveys or polls will put more thought into what they ‘should’ answer while tweets are more personal, candid comments. We use a similar theory in digital marketing strategy and analyze social media sentiments because we can get more honest results than standard market research.
Over the next 3 months, as the election campaign intensifies, it will be interesting to compare the Twindex to the various traditional polls. This comparison, and the ultimate election result, will give a good reading on the accuracy of this kind of social media analysis. For digital marketing strategy, there is already an interesting trend emerging from the limited data available.
If we compare the sentiment trends from the Twindex to the political polls that have been run over the same period, there does seem to be an alignment between the two. The figures don’t match exactly, but there is an indication that the candidate with the better Twindex score is also ahead in the polls. So what does this mean for digital marketing strategy and social media analysis?
The Twindex Can Teach us about Digital Marketing Strategy Too
The key piece of information here is the fact that Twitter sentiment is clearly related to real world sentiment. It’s easy for digital marketers to fall into the trap of assuming that social media sentiment is influenced by social media behavior only. But look at the comparison in social media activity by the two candidates. Barack Obama tweets numerous times every day; Mitt Romney on the other hand averages 2 tweets a day. Yet Obama has no more advantage in Twitter sentiment than he does in other polls.
Social media users are also television viewers and public transport users and magazine readers. So social media sentiment is more than just social media information, it’s real market information.
For digital marketing strategy this means social media monitoring can provide valuable information on your market. And it means that good social media sentiment shouldn’t automatically mean a move away from traditional media engagement.
We’ll have a clearer picture, and can do more analysis, when the election result is in. For now it seems that digital marketing strategy can learn from social media, but shouldn’t rely on it.
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Post by: Eoin Keenan