September 1, 2023
Building voter engagement ahead of an election can be tricky, here's how to cut through the noise with digital technology.
Voter engagement is vital for democracy. Political parties can boost it by employing digital tools. Personalized videos, for instance, provide targeted, interactive outreach, making interactions feel direct and influential.
Voter engagement refers to the strategies and efforts made to motivate eligible voters to participate in the democratic process, primarily by voting in elections. The concept encompasses a broad range of activities and campaigns aimed at increasing voter registration, turnout, and overall involvement in the civic process.
Engaging voters isn't just about getting them to the polls; it's about fostering a more informed, involved, and vibrant democratic society. An active electorate is a sign of a healthy democracy, where citizens are empowered to voice their preferences and actively shape their nation's future. By understanding the key factors that emphasize the importance of voter engagement, we can better appreciate the role each voter plays in the broader democratic process
There are several factors which underline the importance of voter engagement, some of the most notable of which we've listed below:
For a democratic system to truly represent the will of its people, a large proportion of the population should be participating in elections. If only a small fraction votes, the elected officials may not truly represent the majority's interests.
Engaging voters often involves educating them about the issues, candidates, and the voting process itself. An informed electorate is better positioned to make decisions that reflect its best interests.
Many potential voters face obstacles that prevent them from participating. These might include logistical barriers (e.g., not knowing where or how to vote), systemic barriers (e.g., voter ID laws, lack of multilingual ballots), or psychological barriers (e.g., feeling like one's vote doesn’t matter). Voter engagement campaigns can help address and mitigate these challenges.
Research suggests that voting is habitual. Engaging voters, especially young or first-time voters, can set them on a path of consistent civic participation throughout their lives.
Increasing voter engagement is a primary concern for political parties, as higher engagement typically means more people participating in the democratic process. Here are the top 5 strategies a political party can employ to boost voter engagement:
These are direct efforts to encourage people to vote, often involving phone banking, door-to-door canvassing, and SMS campaigns. Such targeted, personalized outreach can be especially effective in reminding and motivating individuals to vote.
Making the voting process as simple and accessible as possible can significantly increase turnout. This includes advocating for policies that simplify the voting process, offering transportation to polling stations, and providing resources for voters to easily obtain any necessary identification or documentation.
Providing clear information on how, when, and where to vote, as well as on party platforms, candidates, and key issues, can empower citizens to participate. Hosting town halls or forums and distributing educational materials can demystify the voting process and make it more accessible.
Targeting communities that historically have lower voter turnout with tailored outreach programs can bring in a significant number of new voters. This includes translating campaign materials, engaging community leaders, and creating outreach programs specifically designed for these communities.
Young people often have lower turnout rates, but when engaged effectively, they can become a powerful voting bloc. Engaging them early can also instill lifelong voting habits.
By actively involving the youth in the democratic process, political parties can tap into the energy, passion, and fresh perspectives that younger generations bring, fostering a more inclusive and dynamic political environment.
Digital voter engagement refers to the application of online tools and platforms to foster and facilitate voter participation in the democratic process. Unlike traditional voter engagement, which relies heavily on face-to-face interactions, printed materials, and broadcast media, digital methods capitalize on the ubiquity and interactivity of the internet.
Digital voter engagement aims to reach voters where they already spend much of their time: on their computers, tablets, and smartphones. It leverages the precision of digital targeting to deliver tailored messages to specific demographics, allowing for a more personalized and efficient outreach. Moreover, with real-time feedback mechanisms inherent in digital platforms, campaigns can adapt and optimize their strategies more swiftly than with traditional methods.
The overarching goal remains the same as traditional voter engagement—to motivate and inform potential voters—but the digital approach offers scalability, adaptability, and a more direct line of communication with the electorate.
Personalized videos harness the power of personalization together with the engaging nature of video content to connect with voters on a more personal level.
By using data-driven insights, campaigns can craft messages tailored to specific demographics, interests, or even individual voters. Here's a breakdown of the concept:
Using data insights, campaigns can discern voter preferences, concerns, and behaviors. With this information, they can create video content that speaks directly to those points, ensuring the message resonates with each individual receiver.
Video platforms like SEEN can automatically integrate personalized elements into videos, such as a viewer's name, location, or specific issues of interest.
Some personalized videos might include clickable elements, allowing viewers to take immediate action, like registering to vote, making a donation or creating and sending a personalized video to their friends or family.
The digital nature of these videos means campaigns can gather immediate feedback on engagement—how many viewed the video, and what actions they took afterward.
In a time and age where attention spans are dwindling, personalized video offers a promising avenue to capture voters' attention and encourage meaningful action.
Curious to find out more about personalized video and how it works? Check out our article “What is personalized video?”
By creating personalized videos, you can make every touchpoint between you and your constituents feel like a 1-on-1 chat. This helps capture your voters’ attention, increases your candidate’s relevance, and creates a snowball effect that can increase a campaign’s influence and chances for success.
Below are some examples of SEEN’s personalized films in this space that showcase how personalized video can communicate engagingly with potential voters, and how it can be used to build motivation within the party or organization ahead of an election.
Read the full case study “Don't forget Sweden”
Read the full case study “A personalized motivation video for members”
Read the full case study “Welcome to the party”
Read the full case study “Election ramp-up 2022”.
🗳️ Voter engagement is fundamental to a functioning democracy.
📢 Political parties can greatly enhance engagement through innovative strategies.
📱Digital tools, especially personalized videos, are emerging as effective engagement methods
🎥 Personalized videos can deliver targeted and interactive messages to voters.
🤝 Direct and meaningful interactions with voters can be achieved at scale with personalization technologies.
Want to find out more? Check out our article “The case for using personalized videos in political campaigns”, or better yet: Get in touch with us.