Labour and Tories ramp up mailshots as election looms

2024_election_politics2Claims that the July 4 general election will be won or lost on Instagram and Facebook appear wide of the mark as the parties gear up for the final days of campaigning with a major blitz of direct mailshots.

While digital advertising is playing a key role in some areas, especially as ads can be produced with quick turnaround times and low costs, it has long been argued that mailings have much greater impact and “staying power”.

According to recent Jicmail figures, the average piece of direct mail generates 134 seconds of attention across all household members in a 28-day period, and the average door drop 55 seconds, making mail a highly attention efficient channel. Social media ads are lucky to even get seen, let alone get attention.

Meanwhile, a separate study from Royal Mail MarketReach revealed that 66% of first-time voters look to mailshots to get information about political parties.

The increase in mailings is also being driven by a hike in the election advertising spending limit from £19,500,000 to £35,106,500.

Whether either of the main parties will get anywhere near this figure is yet to be determined, although the Conservatives have outspent Labour in recent elections, splashing out £15.6m in 2015, £18.6m in 2017 and £16.5m in 2019, compared to Labour’s £12.3m in 2015, £11m in 2017 and £12m in 2019.

Electoral Commission figures show that over the year to the end of April, the Tories significantly outgunned Labour, bringing in £44m while Labour bagged £24.6m, excluding public funds.

However, in the first two weeks of the election, Labour had been given £5.3m, boosted by £2.5m from supermarket giant David Sainsbury, while the Tories had raised less than £900,000, compared with the almost £9m they brought in during the first two weeks of the 2019 campaign under Boris Johnson.

In terms of direct mail, the Conservatives launched a pre-emptive mass mailshot from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak back in December, urging British consumers to fill out a survey which he claimed would shape the future of the country.

Designed to look like an official letter from 10 Downing Street, the missive raised concerns that it had been funded by the Government, although the Tories denied this was the case.

While there is no official word from either the Tories or Labour on their direct mail activity, both parties have been ramping up their attacks in the key marginal seats. To this end, Labour appear to be sending out more personalised mailshots and the Tories are relying on more general leaflets.

One industry source said: “Labour are taking a far more targeted approach, and, if my constituency is anything to go by, the party is ramping up its activity for individual voters to get its message across, not just households. I have received three mailings in the past week alone.

“I don’t remember seeing a single political ad online but there has definitely been a massive increase in printed material, which can only be great news for the industry.”

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