National and international election campaigns show how potential voters are reached today and, ideally, also won over.

At a time when voter behavior is becoming more and more volatile, the importance of campaigning is growing. This fact had been pointed seen by various Digital and SEO companies like SEO Sussex. At the same time, efforts to mobilize are subject to constant change that tries to keep pace with social changes. There is often talk of Americanization because innovations in the USA are adopted more quickly. In the electoral system and political culture, there are explicitly geared towards an economic logic of competition. The presidential campaigns that are in focus act as professional organizations.

A paradigmatic for this is digitization, which has gripped western societies and pluralistic democracies and also permeates campaigning. Its importance becomes obvious when it comes to addressing voters in today’s media system. Donald Trump is among those who have seen this advantage and thus he has set his agenda via Twitter. However, this development not only affects the channels of campaign communication, but also the management of election campaigns, which is increasingly working with data collection and analysis.

Big data: measuring the electorate

The data-based campaign management was established in the USA a long time ago. Already in the primaries, donations are raised, volunteers mobilized and scarce resources are used effectively – with the help of a differentiated database of citizens. Who registered as a voter and what preference was expressed in the process? How can this information be combined with customer data from other sources?

Flood of data: Alexander Nix helped Trump in the election campaign with his company Cambridge Analytica

This information can be used to identify potential voters and address them with target group-specific messages (“targeting”). On the other hand, an attempt can be made not only to predict their behavior (“predictive modeling”), but also to influence it if possible. A successful application of this variant of behavioral economics “nudging” would be “The Great Hack”. This is the title of the Netflix documentation on the scandal in the US election campaign: The consultants of the data analysis company Cambridge Analytica, which has since filed for bankruptcy, promised the Trump campaign, with their individual data and psychographics methods tapped from Facebook, “vulnerable” segments of the electorate to move to vote for Trump.

One means was to run countless different Facebook ads. This resulted in an “invisible campaign” that Internet activist and critic of the filter bubble effect Eli Pariser had already problematized with Obama in 2011: “How should an election campaign team know what the opponent is saying when its advertisements are only sent to white Jewish men between 28 and 34? who came out on Facebook as U2 fans? ” And what’s more: some of these dark posts served to demobilize suspected Clinton voters through “negative campaigning”.

Similar destructive digital campaigns can hardly be proven in Germany, which is also due to the fact that data is not available in the same amount in this country and its use is regulated more restrictively than in the USA. In addition, Facebook did not offer any politically differentiated addressability of users in the ad manager for the 2017 federal election. However, in 2017 the AfD used the services of the Harris Media agency, which also works for Trump, in order to use the platform’s instruments as effectively as possible.