The EVoter Institute has recently released a report entitles “Persuading and Motivating Voters: What Will It Take in 2010?” that drives home the importance of the Internet and the changing dynamics in the ways we all consumer news and information. The study is well worth the read no matter what industry you are in primarily because it illustrates the increasing ways that social media content is being used by consumers.As a quick summary, the report breaks its results into the following 7 findings:
- Finding 1: Voters will increasingly expect candidates to be making heavy use of the web with campaign sites, social media, email, online fundraising and multimedia content being the most popular.
- Finding 2: Voters are engaging in a wider range of political activities online. The new definition of activism continues to reveal that there are many ways for voters to participate in the official and unofficial campaign. What they mean here is that voters forward things, search for things, share content as opposed to simply volunteering or donating.
- Finding 3: The Internet is increasingly integrated into our everyday lives. Traditional means of getting information and news is slipping in popularity though those trusted brands are finding audiences online. However when voters go to the web for information they still most frequently go to their traditional trusted resources such as newpaper web sites.
- Finding 4: Voters realize they live in a crowded and fragmented media environment and that it is hard to get their attention. Voters still identify TV ads as the best way to get their attention but there is a noteworthy rise in those who identify social media tactics, particularly with certain demographics.
- Finding 5: There is clearly a maturing of certain web tools in the political campaign process, particularly the candidate’s web site, the use of email, and search. An official web site is now expected by over 80% of voters at all levels of political activism. Following that means of communications is email which is even more expected by those who are very politically active than television ads on a web site.
- Finding 6: Age matters most when it comes to donating to a campaign, attending a political event, volunteering for a campaign, and sending and receiving email about political issues. As people age, voting decisions are more influenced by television and cable news reports and commentators. However studies such as this sometimes are lagging indicators because older voters are rapidly increasing in their identification of Internet tools as vital resources for them.
- Finding 7: Debates were cited as having the most influence on voting decisions regardless of party affiliation, ethnicity or age. However it is not clear whether they are watching the whole event on TV or picking up snippets of it online through video sharing.
What I find interesting about this study is that it shows how consumer behavior is best influenced by a deeply integrated strategy that allows for the widest variety of ways that people search for, consume and share information. The key word in that previous sentence is “integrated”.