Last week, Zac Moffatt sat down with C-SPAN for their campaign 2016 podcast to talk about the evolution of technology in politics over the past decade. The key takeaway from Zac is that mobile and social media are huge, but “but real innovation is going to come from finding things like broadcast and cable, and finding the efficiencies there, because that’s where 60-70% of the spend occurs.”
Digital is constantly evolving, and as Zac put it, “the level of sophistication, data technology, [and] engineering that is required now is exponentially more difficult than it was 10 years ago which adds to the complexity of a campaign.”
But are campaign budgets keeping up with all of these changes? Zac extensively discussed the inefficiencies in traditional broadcast buying, which is still the primary advertising medium for any campaign of any size:
“We built a website called 50StatesofWaste.com where you can go into every district and see how much money is wasted outside the district. For every dollar you spend on broadcast, only 25% goes to people in that district. Let alone whether they’re registered voters, so if you think about that, 75% of the messaging goes to someone who’s illegal to buy that product. Which has some massive implications when you think about these budgets that we spent to buy all of this media, and then we’re actually primarily talking to people who can’t even buy the product we’re trying to sell.”
So how are we solving for this? Zac put it simply, saying that “data and analytics really have the ability to take inputs and data and then analyze…whether it’s predictive modeling or other components, you can make better informed decisions off the information you have at your fingertips…In 2016 suddenly digital is now more cost efficient and scaleable than mail and phones combined”
Zac added “the things that drive adoption is the size of the audience, and the amount of people who participate in whatever is available. So Facebook is so powerful because so many people use it. Google is so powerful because so many people search on Google. Snapchat is immensely powerful to people under the age of maybe thirty as they look at the mechanism.”
Talking extensively about how the leading Presidential candidates are using social media, Zac pointed out the stark differences between candidate styles, saying, “campaigns can tell a candidate how to behave, but many just aren’t natural at it. [Donald Trump] is extremely natural at it. I think that’s why [the Clinton Campaign] has so much trouble with Hillary Clinton. You couldn’t put her in the same environment as Barack Obama, and you see how successful he was. Even with her on the late shows, it’s challenging and I think people see that and don’t feel that’s authentic.
You can listen to the full podcast here. A big thank you to C-SPAN for hosting Zac!