What Does the Cambridge Analytica Scandal Mean for Digital?

Below you will find the highlights of a news story well worth reading that discusses Facebook’s recnet Cambridge Analytica Scandal. How will this impact marketing online? It remains to be seen.

For a few days there, you could hardly look at political news without seeing the words Cambridge Analytica. As soon as word broke that Facebook had banned the UK-based data analytics firm from its platform on March 16, stories popped up connecting it to everything from Russian officials to campaign dirty tricks around the world.

Facebook cast Cambridge into the wilderness because the company violated Facebook’s terms of service when it “scraped” data from some 50 million Facebook users via a Facebook app in 2014. Many other advertisers — including the Obama campaign — also obtained user data via apps in the same period (including information on app users’ Facebook friends), but CA apparently ran afoul of the rules in the ways it shared the data.

The scraped Facebook profiles served as the foundation for CA’s “pychographic” targeting, which they pitched to potential clients as having the power to tailor advertising and outreach based on people’s deep personal characteristics. Best known for working with the Trump campaign in 2016, the company also consulted with the campaigns of Ted Cruz and Ben Carson — along with many others around the world.

What does this wave of revelations mean for political professionals? Let’s break it down:

Data Regulations
CA lived and died by a sword made of data, and its abuses have inspired lawmakers and advocates in the U.S. and U.K. to call for stricter data regulations or better enforcement of existing ones. The practical results will depend on exactly what laws or rules they manage to pass, particularly after the story drops from the headlines and people aren’t paying as much attention.

Facebook Backlash

A Facebook movement sprang up almost as soon as the news of CA’s banning broke. Less than two weeks later, it had already enlisted celebrities like Cher and tech leaders like Elon Musk, who deleted the Facebook pages of Tesla and SpaceX.

The company itself could impose new restrictions on advertisers, but it can’t cut their options too much without killing the company’s revenue engine. Campaign communicators should watch for changes. Still, I don’t see any reason to reduce your 2018 Facebook budget unless something more dramatic happens.

Collaboration

Now we’re getting to the dangerous part, at least if you’re a CA employee or client. For a start, the staff may have coordinated their work for the Trump campaign with their work with other clients, including pro-Trump PACs. That’s a big no-no under U.S. campaign finance rules, though with the FEC deadlocked, the company may escape consequences — unless Robert Mueller’s investigation takes up the thread.

Domestic coordination is just the start, since it seems that CA used foreign nationals for the bulk of its work with American clients. Once again, that’s a practice banned under U.S. law, if the staff in question made substantive strategic decisions for the campaign. And then there are those whispers about the Russians. If they pan out, all bets are off.

At the very least, the CA scandal (CambridgeGate? AnalyticaGate?) gives extra impetus to the drive to include disclosure language in online political advertising, though new rules would almost certainly not take effect this election cycle. This year campaigns should expect extra scrutiny on any activity that might look like coordination, though.

Was Cambridge Analytica Selling Snake Oil?

Behind the broader CA discussion hovers a basic question: did their psychographic targeting live up to the hype? Brad Parscale has long claimed that his team didn’t use Cambridge’s data when they built Trump’s comprehensive Facebook outreach program, and it appears that he treated CA as one of many vendors competing to demonstrate the utility of their tools.

In any case, psychographic targeting is nothing new — vendors have been pitching some variation of the idea for years. Psychographic profiling can help campaigns establish their initial target models, but data coming in from direct voter contact should supersede the models quickly. Who needs an estimate of who might respond to a given message once you can watch what they click on? Once voters tell you what they care about, you don’t need to guess.

A good rule of thumb? If it sounds like magic, it’s might just be vapor, no matter how fancy the Powerpoint. Pro tip: vaporware rarely wins elections.

Original Article

Political Website Builder – What You Should Know

Web Builder for Local Politic Sites

If you are interested in finding a political website builder you should know what to look for, don’t you think? Someone who can guide you through the process and knows the techy stuff so you can focus on your campaign, right?

GGP wants to offer some long overdue advise on this topic, so grab a cup of coffee.

First you want someone who knows SEO so they don’t make decisions that will penalize you in the search engines. I mean, what good is a great site if no one can find it.

Second you want someone who can coach you concerning content generation. What you say, who you target, how you organize that content is all very important.

Third you want someone who will help you understand that your site can meet many different needs of many different audiences, such as interested voters, the media, and potential contributors. Your content strategy should include all these and more.

Fourth a political website builder worth their salt will know how to get you up and going YOURSELF in quick order. What I mean is they may do all the heavy lifting, but they will ensure you can update the site yourself, quickly and easily as the need arises.

Fifth, they will steer you towards solutions that will magnify your efforts as in automation, repurposing content, and how to promote it.

Your website and presence online isn’t everything, but it’s a lot. Look for a builder who can help you get this phase of your campaign development off to a good start. Gibson Girls Publishing can help you get started today.

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Does Political Campaign Website Hosting Sometimes Make You Feel Stupid?

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No one likes to admit feeling confused, but honestly, hosting for your political site can make you feel that way (even if you don’t want to tell anyone; I promise not to tell.)

When you decided to run for office you might not have realized you were signing up to learn tons of technical stuff like domain hosting, email sequences, content management software and social media.

But, let’s face it, your campaign needs a website, and a site needs hosting.

An easy platform to use is wordpress because it can be expanded with plugin tools that will do everything from fundraising to voter countdowns.

Hosting Cost

Campaigns for individuals or causes don’t need to cost a lot. In fact some sites offer free hosting, but you don’t have much control and ads for anything (including your competitors) can show up on your site. Nobody wants that!

Having your own domain is the way to go, in which case you will need some sort of hosting. If you don’t know what that means let me explain.

Your web site is nothing but a bunch of images, videos and html files that reside on a server somewhere. When you register a domain name (for example www.yourwebsite.com) the name is registered to you, and the registrar makes it possible to point that domain name to any computer on the web, so all the people who want to go to your site get routed to your files. The computer that holds your files is owned by a hosting company.

Put real simply, it’s like renting a storage unit for your website. Without a place to put your files and without telling your registrar where to get those files your site will not be active.

Lots of companies provide hosting service, and you can find add on services that range in price from free (as mentioned previously) to very expensive.

Gibson Girls Publishing provides hosting services, but you can use any of these services. Certainly cost is something to consider, but most hosting services will meet your needs.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Hosting Company

What features should candidates look for when you choose a hosting package?

  • speed
  • backups
  • autoresponders
  • cron control
  • technical support
  • cpanel access

Speed – you want your site to load quickly. Folks won’t stay around for your pages to finally appear on their screen.

Backups – the hosting service you go with should make backups of your site in case something goes wrong. Enough said?

Autoresponders – Whether you use a plugin or some other software on your site you want to be able to setup emails to automatically go out to those on your list. Make sure your host allows this.

Cron control – This is a bit techie, but suffice it to say that some plugins you may want to use will require cron control. Look for this as a feature of any service you sign up for.

Technical support – Obviously you want the host to provide technical support to fix problems or answer questions if necessary.

Cpanel access – It will be necessary to access the cpanel for your site, which makes it easy to create email addresses, connect your domain to your registrar and manage other changes.

Election websites should be filled with content that addresses your constituency, platform and issues.

Find out more, obtain political website layout suggestions, or contact us for a cost-free quote. We just might be the right solution for you.

Whether you use our services or someone else’s know that voters will look for you online. Get a professional site designed, build in lots of engaging content and make it easy for them to navigate. Start with a great hosting company and you’ll be well on your way.

 

Turn Your Political Campaign Website Templates Into A High Performing Machine

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Everyone has considered using political website templates for their campaign. And, honestly, if you don’t have other means, this is an option that can work for you, if… you turn your template into a high performing machine using the tips I’m including in this post.

If you read my posts you know I do recommend using WordPress for your campaign site for lots of reasons. This software allows you to install some great plugins and use some prefab themes to get your site up and running. I always tell my clients to get the site up already, so that isn’t a bad way to go, at least, at the beginning.

A Word About WordPress Templates

You can even get your hands on a theme that allows you to easily modify it by changing colors and images. In many instances this is as far as some candidates go. Some are free and others cost a small fee.

First you should make sure any template or theme you decide to download is mobile responsive, which simply means it looks good on any device you view it on. The same site design will function on a tablet, a smart phone, or a desktop computer without any hitches.

To me these type of designs are superior for a candidate to use because html type themes require a lot of coding and technical knowledge. With WordPress you can just get to work on your campaign rather than learn a coding language.

Both can be custom made for you including pretty much anything you want like social media links or posts, logos, branding, and functionality. The layout features are also important to consider, but if its built on the WordPress platform you have a good beginning package.

Supercharge Your Site With Media and Content

As a candidate you are likely focused on facts and figures. I mean, you have to get ready for your impending debate, right? But if there was any lesson learned by the most recent election it is that social media, engaging content, and having an opinion and voicing it makes a difference to your campaign. That’s a large departure from previous campaigns.

So, be sure and use images and videos, and other media on your site. Premium sites will include images and most likely options for changing out pictures. Adding them to your posts and videos when appropriate is a great idea.

Make Sure Your Template Includes The Basic Pages

You need an About page with information about you and your qualifications for politics.

You will also need a Contact page which will include a way for someone to email you, come by your campaign headquarters, how to donate or help and reach you on the web at popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Be Professional

Any theme you launch should present you in a professional manner. Share about events you will be speaking at. Use a logo. And for heaven’s sake blog. No really. I mean it. Blogging give you an easy way to come up with social media posts, but more importantly it lets you express yourself in a less formal way. Just be sure and stay professional.

Be friendly. Ask for support.

Wherever you get your hosting make sure your site is fast. Visitors will not tolerate a slow, clunky site.

You can save time using these templated styles on your site, add a plugin or two, write some content and start blogging. You can always change the theme later. You’ll be so surprised at how powerful this can be for politicians.