With the inception of social media, political elections would change forever. In 2012, candidates spent and estimated $6 billion on the election. Much of that money was spent on ads on different social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The advertisements had a tremendous impact on the outcome of the 2012 election. President Obama was able to effectively use the big data available to him to get a number of voters out who normally would not have voted in the past. Pundits can argue over why these voters came out, but most will agree that the use of social media ads has a definite influence. The 2016 election will undoubtedly see an even bigger influence of social media and big data on the outcome of the race.
Effectively combining big data and social media will be key to the 2016 election. Social media gives candidates access to quick and easy outlets to get their names seen and heard. Candidates can post thoughts and ideas about policy changes or attack their opponents through guerilla marketing. Social media can effectively make or break candidates depending on what is said about them. For example, one quote by Rick Perry basically destroyed any chance he had of winning.
The big data available to candidates online allows candidates to target specific people groups. Using information like what people have liked and shared on Facebook, Mitt Romney was able target specific people. Whenever people visited certain sites, a popup ad of Mitt Romney would appear. One of Romney’s marketing gurus was able to put together an algorithm that used big data to determine certain websites that were more likely to attract Romney supporters and put his ad on that site. The technical term for this is digital behavioral tracking and be prepared to see a lot more of it in the 2016 election. The popularity of social media outlets is only growing and the candidate who uses these outlets most effectively will very likely be the next President of the United States.