Campaigns Embrace ‘Digerati’ as They Lose Traditional Eyeballs

A study conducted by Say Media indicates more and more voters are going “off the grid,” increasingly less likely to view traditional television ads.

Zac Moffatt, digital director of the Romney campaign and co-founder of political research group Targeted Victory, has observed these trends through his own research. On the Democratic side, several research firms concur, with studies showing that “more than 40 percent of likely voters prefer alternative video sources to live TV.”

With the explosion of alternative viewing sources, smartphone usage, and social media, how can the campaigns hope to reach these “off-the grid voters?”

Traditional TV ads may still be the norm, but social media is gaining steam. President Obama won the social media battle in 2008, embracing the medium even before it became inherent to a campaign’s success; and thus far, he seems to be ahead of the game yet again.

Upon news of Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his vice presidential candidate , the Obama campaign took to Tumblr to educate voters on their newly introduced opponent.

Adweek writes, “In a little over an hour, the picture and caption have received nearly 2,000 notes on Tumblr (including reblogs and comments) and been passed around in political circles on Twitter. Plus, news organizations active on Tumblr have even reblogged the post with commentary.”

Tumblr has provided an opportunity for campaigns and news sources to get “casual” with constituents – photos, gifs, and irreverent humor are the norm. This sort of casual relationship may be key to attracting those who no longer consume traditional media, instead taking to streaming services like Netflix or their DVRs.

Politico has noted that the addition of Paul Ryan to the Romney campaign adds significant a social media presence, with Ryan quickly surpassing Vice President Biden in number of “likes.”

It remains to be seen how they will respond to this latest bit of snark on the Obama side, but it is clear that the battle will be fought in the digital realm, and quite possible that the election is decided in the same. With more than 40% of likely voters preferring to view their media in non-traditional ways, it is only fitting that the candidates invoke non-traditional methods to win their votes.

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