Talking directly to you – how the next US president will be a social media expert

SocialBakers graphs the success – or failure – of the US presidential candidates on social media sites. “Likes”, “Re-Tweets”, “Shares”, “Follows”, and other social media data are all used to build a picture¬† of each candidate’s online footprint. Did you know that 38% of Ron Paul’s “interactions” involve photos? Or that in the last month Santorum has made 268 social media posts, compared to just 52 from Gingrinch?

Social media data
Source: SocialBakers
 Whether this data can accurately reflect the election results remains to be seen, of course. However, there is one area where it is becoming increasingly useful to party and presidential campaigns. Such wealth of publicly available data on the electorate is a dream for data miners, whose software can search for hidden patterns, classifying users into groups and sub groups, allowing campaigners to engage in micro-targeting: sending personalised campaign literate to potential voters. Geography, profession, social class, even religion can be used to determine which issues a voter will likely respond to, and Рcritically Рwhich may turn them off.
Social media data
Source: SocialBakers

Businesses have long understood the power of targeted advertising. From tracking cookies in the early days of the web to the vast reservoirs of user data collected by the likes of Facebook and Google, millions of dollars have been made from understanding what customers like and what they click on (Google makes over 94% of its revenue from selling advertisements based on this idea). Online retailers such as Amazon and NetFlix have enormously sophisticated systems for understanding customers’ likes and making product recommendations. Now it seems the presidential candidates are catching up with the idea.

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