Meet the ‘micro-Pacs’ buying political ads on Facebook

From BBC Trending: Alongside the main parties, small groups and even individuals are jockeying for political influence by buying micro-targeted ads on Facebook.

They are not-for-profit organisations, small informal groups and – in at least one case – a student with a personal mission and a bit of spare cash. They’re bypassing the political parties and buying political advertisements directly on Facebook.

BBC Trending and Newsnight have been asking people to send in examples of the political ads they have been seeing on the UK’s biggest social network. We’ve seen plenty of advertising put out by the major parties, but also ones promoting about a dozen politically themed pages unaffiliated with any official campaigns. It’s likely there are many more of what we at BBC Trending are calling “micro-Pacs” (in the US, independent campaign groups are called “political action committees”) than our survey has picked up.

Chris Henderson runs one of these groups. He’s clearly left-leaning, though some of the groups also come from the right of politics. Henderson’s Facebook page is called “Stop the Tories 2017“. Henderson is a postgraduate psychology student and a former local communications officer for the Green Party, but says that his current initiative is not endorsed by or co-ordinated with the official Green campaign.

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A junior doctor is crowdfunding his own election video to spill the truth on May

From The Canary: Jez is a junior doctor who’s had enough of media bias and Conservative-inflicted austerity. With a group of his friends, he’s on a mission to expose what’s really happening to our NHS and our country through an election video of his own. But they first need the public’s support.

Jez is an A&E doctor. Along with his friends Gareth (a public sector advisor) and Sam (who works in creative arts), he is crowdfunding to create an election video that exposes the true effects of the NHS crisis. He also aims to showcase the bias of mainstream media outlets, the damage inflicted by Conservative policies, and the problem of wealth inequality and tax evasion.

[Read full article on The Canary] [Direct crowdfunder link…]

Greens’ advert causes social media storm as kids play politicians

From The Guardian: Shot in one day last week, the Green party ad campaign featuring children acting as political leaders has attracted nearly 500,000 views across the party’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts within 24 hours.

The brainchild of ad agency Creature of London the offering has already eclipsed a rival ad from the Labour party featuring actor Art Malik talking about the government’s failings, which attracted under 20,000 views on Labour’s official Facebook and YouTube pages despite being online a day longer.

“The Greens don’t have the budget of a big brand or of the bigger political parties and have a desire to be different and do things differently,” said Dan Shute, co-founder and managing director of Creature. “We wanted to create something memorable that people would talk about and love, and trust me once we had the concept it was certainly not difficult to find material given the state of UK politics.”

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How the Yes social media strategy helped SNP effect seismic change in Scottish politics

From The Herald: many people who were not professional politicians also used Twitter to express their opinions. Some 2.8 million twitter messages using #indyref from 145,000 separate accounts between January and September 2014 were collected and the content and the patterns of interaction were analysed. We found a huge discrepancy in activity levels between the Yes and No sides.

…The Yes campaign was… permissive. Its primary goal was securing a Yes vote and there was a similar focus on undecided voters. However, Yes Scotland believed that it had to build momentum from the ground up, harness the energies of supporters, enthuse new recruits and bring together lots of disparate groups in the attempt to create a national movement rather than fight a traditional election campaign.

The more loosely organised and grassroots orientated structure of the Yes campaign encouraged more people to channel their energies into a variety of activities including the use of social media.

[Read full article on The Herald website…]

Scotland: SNP politicians ‘most effective’ on social media

From The Scotsman: SNP politicians are “particularly effective” campaigners on social media with all 56 of the new Nationalst MPs using Twitter, research has found. It is now the most effective communication tool for politicians as it helps them engage with the younger generation, according to the firm behind the data says.


[Read full article on The Scotsman website…]

Meet the social media stars of the 2015 general election

From The Guardian: It’s perhaps a sad sign of the times that the posts that went all-out to attack the opposition produced the most buzz. The most engaged post for the Conservatives was the Don’t Let them Forget photo of the Treasury letter left behind by Labour’s Liam Byrne in Downing Street, which on 6 April got a 4.5% engagement rate and more than 9,000 shares.

But the overall winner, with 12,668 shares and a 9% engagement rate was Labour’s video 12 April post of George Osborne being asked 18 times by Andrew Marr where the Tories would find the money for their NHS investment pledge.

[Read full article on the Guardian website…]

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