With the UK general election only weeks away, each party has been busy campaigning for your vote. But just how effective has each online campaign been? In this special edition of The Manchester SEO Blog, we will be taking a look at some of the online promotional tactics employed by the parties, and identify the bizarre highlights and cringeworthy lows, as politicians increasingly rely on social media to win your vote. The 2010 UK general election may well prove to be the first election which was decided at home, by you, the users of the Internet.
Case Study: Tory Website and AdWords Campaigns
Alongside this, the Tories have been running several Google AdWords campaigns for phrases such as ‘leaders debate polls’ / ‘leaders debate results’ using the following advert:
This campaign has temporarily been discontinued, but they are still running one on Gordon Browns own name, which features David Camerons’ official YouTube channel.
This black hat technique is not likely to influence anyone and will prove to be quite a waste of money. Most searchers using these types of phrases will be looking for information about Gordon Brown, or up to date, official poll statistics. Any visitor won by these means are not likely to be in a receptive mood to the types of messages the Tories would like to convey. It might just prove an effective way of negatively influencing Google’s search quality!
Case Study : Sudden Surge of Support for Liberal Democrats
Realising the effectiveness of Internet irony, the Lib Dems set up the website www.labservative.com – boasting: ‘more of the same’ for Britain if either of the major parties are elected. To accompany this, they posted an entertaining series of YouTube videos.
This seemed to find great resonance with the British public, as the first leaders debate unfolded. Half way through, it became clear from the flurry of Tweets that the Twittocracy had spoken in favour of Nick. Viewers picked up on both David Cameron and Gordon Brown saying: ‘I agree with Nick’ during the first televised debate. The hashtag #IAgreeWithNick quickly started to trend on Twitter. Worried by the surge in online popularity, the mainstream media machine unleashed a belt-fed burst of negative headlines which questioned everything from the party’s financial dealings to Nick’s views on British patriotism. This seemed to have very little impact, and the Twitter hashtag #NickCleggsFault began trending as Internet users started using it ironically in response to the mainstream media attacks. Search Engine Land believes that the origins of this hashtag came from a guy named Justin McKeating after stubbing his toe shortly after tweeting about some of this negative Lib Dem press.
Case Study : Labour Party Social Media Campaign
The Labour party have also heavily engaged in social media, with Twitter Tsar MP Kerry McCarthy leading the way. They have an entertaining and informative string of YouTube videos – including an comic summary of the Labour 2010 Manifesto. While it has certainly not been a faliure, they have not been able to produce the sort of online viral success of the Liberal Democrats. (I mean really … a stubbed toe … Nick Cleggs Fault?)
These are interesting times we live in, and as time goes by we can expect more focus to be turned on the Internet as it plays an increasing role in our lives. Social media in particular is likely to become key to winning hearts and minds of online voters. I suspect these debates will be dissected and analysed for years to come.