What are people’s thoughts on the Tories’ targeted social media campaigns vs Labour’s massive grassroots operation now the dust has settled a bit on the election results?
There was loads of articles in the last few days before the election about how the Tories investment in and greater grasp of online campaigning meant they had it in the bag. Techy people I know were sharing them on facebook and basically saying yeah this is srs bsness and the left have a lot of catching up to do. Brexit/Trump/Cambridge Analytica yadda yadda.
But I haven’t seen anything since explaining why this wasn’t borne out. Obviously there are loads of factors here and wouldn’t want to boil it down too much, but does the evidence now suggest that grassroots mobilisation has a much bigger role to play than we thought previously?
all that really proves is that the tories spent a shitload more on advertising than labour did, and that has and will always be the case. they may have reached people with the ads but they ran a horrible campaign.
Couple of good articles on Labour’s ground campaign here:
It seems like the sheer numbers of Momentum activists, plus the positive canvassing techniques brought over by the Sanders campaigners, was able to overcome the huge budget and targeted advertising of the Tories. Plus, sometimes it’s the message, rather than the method of delivery that swings the balance.
Thought this was a decent read on this subject
Think a lot of credit has to go to Momentum for getting newer Labour members out and about, and directed towards target seats. As someone who canvassed for the first time, did get people saying that having people actually coming to listen to them made them more likely to vote Labour.
As regards online campaigning, I wonder if the Tories strategy wasn’t as successful as it wasn’t being shared organically, it was just a Tory video showing up on Facebook. You’re much more likely to watch a video if someone you know sends it to you.
gotta have faith in this ultimately don’t we, and as long as that’s what it’s about and we’ve got the best message, a massive and well organised ground campaign should always win out
3 things spring to mind
- Ground Campaign > Air Campaign. Seems that so far as I can tell Labour’s eclipsed the Conservative one significantly. Don’t underestimate the effect of 10 minutes talking to someone on a one-to-one basis over a year of internet ads.
- The ads themselves were bad/counter productive. e.g. Corbyn was monstered, but the rhetoric didn’t match what people saw for themselves in outher outlets
- The Tories (and Labour) were targetting the wrong seats because their private polling data was rubbish. They probably found the people they intended to find, but they weren’t the ones they should have been going for.
could be many things - could be that since Brexit/Trump people are now wise to it
could be that May just ran a terrible campaign & Corbyn ran a decent one
I think that also it should be taken into account that both Trump & Brexit were votes away from the status quo and following the promise of something new - the Tories campaign was relentlessly negative and I think it’s fairly well established that it’s easier to motivate people positively than negatively ie with hope rather than fear (Drain the swamp/£350m for the NHS/Take back control etc.)
But I think grassroots played an important part and is likely a lot more sustainable than big budget ad spend not least because it grows the party (Labour are close to a million members now right?) which in turn provides canvassers who in turn go out and grow the party
these are all guess - I have no data
but let’s not pretend that it’s so clean & dry - Tories got 43% of the vote, Labour 41% - I think it’s probably reasonable to assume that the targetted ads probably worked to some extent
Read this last night and thought it was a very good piece.
Agree on the second bit too - most stuff I saw shared by Tory voters was self-generated rather than coming from the Tory campaign.
I think that your last point is an important one too.
Labour/Corbyn fans (and I use that word as opposed to supporters or members) were creating content and memes on a huge scale, and many of them spread beyond the paid-for pieces the parties commissioned.
- It didn’t work. However the same targeting in the South West, for instance, in 2015 was said to have made a significant difference. I don’t necessarily think their paid media strategy was at fault here; more the messages they put out on it. VERY little of the Tories attacks seemed to stick re: Corbyn. Same with the ads. So yeah I don’t think you can draw any conclusions from the medium here given that FB targeting seemed to be effective just 2 years ago. The message was the same as the national campaign. It didn’t work nationally and it didn’t work on facebook.
- To draw one distinction between Labour online and the Conservatives online - one of Labour’s strengths online (which Momentum used very well) was user-generated content which people spread out via networks. This is always, ALWAYS going to work better than paid ads because people listen to their networks more than they do political parties. This is embedded knowledge now - the left have been much better at driving engagement online but the key with this is that it drove action and got people to vote.
Only pub I know in Alvechurch is the Red Lion which is decent enough. Went for a surprisingly good curry at a place in Alvechurch a couple of weeks ago though.
Somebody I know was in there last night
And when I say it ‘didn’t work’ I mean two things (which are in agreement with boothyfearssatan’s last point):
- It didn’t deliver the Tories a majority (the ultimate KPI by which all others fall out of)
- It didn’t succeed in its core aim of making Corbyn terrifying/unattractive to the electorate. I’d wager a significant bit of this is because Corbyn’s movements on national security, IRA, Middle East etc. were already priced in for voters long ago. Oh and that the product they were selling (May) was so awful itself.
And I think because he took the gamble of taking time to talk about global security after the bombing. The police numbers thing did the damage to May but talking about security improved people’s impression of him.
In other news, the clip of him listening to a west London resident whilst visiting the scene of the fire then responding with a confident backing of the local MP’s right to speak, the party’s housing spokesman’s right to speak and then adding that he would speak for everyone is really strong stuff. It’s the right order and the right emphasis. It’s the same idea as from the early days of leadership and perhaps I’m seeing it through partial eyes but the delivery seems so much stronger now.
Was going to say he’s doing some solid Getting On With It rn
I don’t there’s any question that Corbyn’s delivery has improved leaps and bounds. He was a bit of a shambling mess to begin with, but he’s visibly grown in confidence over the past couple of months, understandably, and now comes across as a proper, capable leader.
In addition to which, May reputedly did not meet any residents whilst Corbyn did when visiting the site. There’s a photo of him comforting a visibly upset lady on the Guardian website.
He comes across as a very human man.
It’s not just his delivery, but his body language that exudes confidence these days too. He’s shed that defensive, surly schoolteacher look when dealing with the media.
Here’s the quote in a non pop-up, auto-play format for those who’ve not see it already: