Politico & Digital Public Affairs

Politico & Digital Public Affairs

With a rapidly changing media universe, shifts in electoral support to political agendas are happening with accelerating speed. Along with our partner, Analyse & Tal, Nextwork uses publicly available behavioural data to create engaging strategies for political organisations.

Can a like predict electoral results?

As experts and polls have failed to accurately predict the outcome of everything from the American presidential election to Brexit and municipal elections in Denmark, the polls as a method of predicting is heavily doubted. In Nextwork we share this distrust. And we find that the problem of the predictions origins from using obsolete methods to understand voter preferences. Simply but, regular polls used to small and imprecise data samples and focuses, almost solely, on the voters own reflections of a party, candidate or the political situation in general.

Instead of asking for reflections, we argue people’s digital behavior is a much better predictor of actual voting behavior. Combining online and offline data, we have searched for patterns between party preferences and public Facebook activity and apply machine learning classifiers to explore the link between their political liking behaviour and actual voting intention.

Along with our partner, Analyse & Tal, Nextwork uses publicly available data to create engaging strategies for political organisations.

How political Facebook content engages potential voters

Today, Facebook is the main area of public debate and political engagement. This has great consequences for politicians and their way of campaigning. Generating the most likes can mean winning an election. And to generate likes, you need to develop successful content.

So how do you do that? How should you communicate a political message? What works in a political campaign – and what doesn’t? For decades, the answers to such questions have been pursued through focus groups. Focus groups are great for many things. But when it comes to generating useful insights on political messages, today’s technology offer better ways. Instead of asking people how they react, we analyze how they really act.

With public Facebook data available, we can analyze how voters engage with politicians, political parties and news sites. Our algorithm can sort excessive amounts of Facebook posts, which we analyze thoroughly. We find patterns in how people react to certain messages and explain why something works and something else doesn’t.

This leads to answering the ultimate questions for politicians: How do you engage potential voters? Our key to finding the answer lies in the combination of big data analysis with rhetorical and humanistic insight.

How big data can help you with your network strategy

Strategically aware organizations have a well-defined strategy on how to influence and engage key stakeholders. However, being a historically analogue discipline, network strategy is often build around people and organizations that are well-known to the organization. By using only analogue approaches to build their network practice, organizations often end up courting to the same stakeholders as they always have.

In more and more countries around the world, new data on the personal interconnections between different organizations and industries can be used to build operational maps of how to expand your organizations network to stakeholders that are current “blind spots” to your organization.

Along with our partner, Analyse & Tal, Nextwork delivers operational network strategies build on data of tens of thousands of decision makers in a single country. Data is build from accessing the groundbreaking research project “The Power Elite”  by PhDs Anton Grau Larsen and Cristoph Ellergaad.

Why don’t people join political parties anymore?

Several political parties face a general decrease in the number af party members. Research in political science points to the fact that future political organizations will have a relatively large base of non-members. These particular kinds of members don’t pay subscription fees, they don’t want rights or members-only-benefits. They don’t want commitment and they choose to contribute from cause to cause. So the question that political organizations ask themselves now is: How do we engage non-members? How can we facilitate future political participation? And how can we benefit from the potential of non-members?

In our work with political organizations and parties, we have found an ongoing movement comparable to that of the digitalization of movies, music and even books. Just as the once so impressive and appreciated CD and DVD collections that we all had to locally own has now lost its appeal and instead been replaced by streaming services, so has the idea of owning a membership lost its appeal. We are more interested in subscribing to specific opinions and ideas, discussing them across geographical borders, rather than joining local groups.

Non-members need new forms of participation opportunities that meet multiple degrees of political activity. Parties and political organizations will have to become  ‘multi-speed membership’ organizations in order to draw advantage from the emerging non-member base. Having developed perhaps the most reliable big data algorithm to analyze political agendas on social media, our specialists within political sciences and marketing consultants can help leverage your organization or political party to meet the members of the future.