The 2014 election cycle taught us that experts are having trouble using all of the data they gather on voters due to its overwhelming amount. For example, Revolution Messaging (a Washington-based digital agency) pushed forth ads about the minimum wage to the computers and tablets of Kentucky’s union members on behalf of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Once they were delivered, Revolution Messaging gained detailed information about how long the individuals hovered their cursors over the ad before clicking it, when they viewed it and other specifics. Although the data was interesting and relevant, it proved to be too overwhelming.
One of the strengths and weaknesses of digital advertising is the depth of the data it makes available at any one time,” says Goudiss. But “if we just sent it all in a spreadsheet to our clients, their eyes would glaze over.
According to Dybwad, the potential for data overload is very real. He states that it is vital to know what you are looking for and to understand your end results. He ties this to data related to the recent elections: it is important to focus on small audiences and derive information that way in order to avoid having too much unnecessary data that will not tell a story. Now what digital agencies will spend the two years working on before the next election is deciding which segments to target and what specific information they want to gain out of the research.
As for voters, it is important to be aware of the extent to which their actions online are being monitored.
Read more here – “Campaigns Collected More Data on Voters Than They Know What to Do With,” (Nancy Scola, Washington Post).
Anna is a current student at The George Washington University in Washington, DC with a concentration in Marketing and Communication. She specializes in social media outreach and has experience working in government contracting.