Election season is here, and while marketers may feel it's harder to cut through the noise of the various local, state and federal elections happening during this busy time, the 2016 election season is actually revealing a number of interesting insights about consumer behavior.
In fact, Google recently published a voter behavior report containing the following three insights:
1. Search Before You Act
Though most marketers already know about the growing importance of digital, this newest report shows that consumers are going online more than ever to find information before they vote.
During the first two months of 2016, Super Tuesday voters researched primary issues and candidates online 85 times, on average. This huge metric proves that digital is a fertile place for marketers to persuade and inform consumers.
When voters feel unsure about something, they turn to the internet for information to draw their own conclusions. Marketers can use this tendency to their advantage: This type of behavior likely extends to consumers' everyday lives. For instance, if a consumer thinks about buying a new car but doesn't know if they want a Honda or a Toyota, they'll look online a few times before making a decision about which car dealership they should visit the next day.
2. TV Is Still Important
While Google's voter behavior study reinforces the importance of digital, it also shows that TV is still very relevant to today's marketplace. According to the report, TV ads are the most effective media for candidates looking to make a good first impression with voters in the early political season.
This insight is especially important for small and midsize businesses. Consumers may not be familiar with your business, so if you're new or compete with a number of other businesses in the area, try introducing yourself on TV. Consumers can learn more about your brand in a short amount of time, which can make a huge difference in attracting new customers and spreading brand awareness.
3. The Digital Deep Dive
TV is great for introductions, but if you study voter behavior in political campaigns, you'll notice that voters place more trust in online sources. They feel the digital world provides them the opportunity to control what information they seek.
While TV ads push a specific candidate or business, consumers can go online for a more candid view at the politician or company they want to learn more about, without worrying about the bias inherent in TV ads. Consumers feel empowered after taking a deep dive online, and as a result, they will feel resolute in their convictions to vote for a particular candidate or patronize a certain business.
For businesses, this means online reputation management is critical. Make sure you check the pulse on what consumers are saying about your business on review sites and double check that your business information (phone number, address, etc.) is correct on listings sites like Yelp. Another way to build trust online is through content marketing. Posting regular and relevant content will not only increase your credibility with consumers, but it will also help boost your SEO.
Though marketing during a presidential election season presents its own set of unique challenges, it gives marketers a rare opportunity to study voter behavior in detail, which can provide some truly valuable insights.