While many were predicting a Conservative majority, an indepth analysis of the main political parties’ General Election email campaigns – as well as social media sentiment – saw a resurgent Labour Party and flagged up the likelihood of a hung Parliament way before the actual result.
According to a study by email marketing specialist Return Path, subscriber engagement with Labour’s email programme overtook the Conservatives and was running at 4% higher. Labour was the primary beneficiary of a late collapse in support for the smaller parties as voters aligned behind the two traditional heavyweights.
The Conservatives may have spent heavily on social media, an area where both Labour and the Lib Dems are less able to compete, but all three parties put huge resources into their email activity. Labour has already been praised for its “smarter, better and more effective” digital strategy.
Return Path identified that voters prefer shorter, positive messages – preferably directly from the party leaders, a strategy which Labour embraced. One particular email , promoting Labour’s fundraising success, was a top performer with read rates of 44% compared with its election benchmark of 25%.
The company predicted a narrow win for the Conservatives (42% to 40%) leaving them as the largest party, but without a Parliamentary majority. The party actually achieved a 42.4% share of the vote, with Labour on 40%.
Meanwhile, an analysis by data science and media technology company, 4C Insights revealed sentiment across social media towards the Conservative Party dipped to just 37% in the final days prior to the election – despite its huge spend on the medium.
Tracking social media activity on Facebook and Twitter towards parties and leaders from 1st May, social data has revealed sentiment towards the Conservative Party bottomed out on June 5 at 37%, shortly after it was announced Theresa May’s lead over the opposition Labour Party had narrowed to just 1 percentage point.
Overall, the Conservative Party lost 6 percentage points from the start of the period and 21 points from its peak. Through the course of the campaign, Theresa May managed an average engagement sentiment of just 43.5%.
Aaron Goldman, chief marketing officer at 4C, commented: “Traditional polling methodologies are based on self-reported behaviour that increasingly fail to predict election outcomes. Social media engagements more accurately reflect the sentiment of the populace and enable real-time assessment of the momentum behind political leaders, parties, and policies.
“Not all social media analyses are created equal though. 4C removes passive engagements such as page likes and account follows to focus on active engagements including comments and retweets. These actions demonstrate stronger affinity and recency and thus are better indicators of voter intent.”
Labour Party digital strategy ‘putting rivals to shame’