The presidential election means big business for the ad industry, with a whopping $6 billion spent on 2012 election ads last year across all media according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Last year’s election broke records, both at the poll and in the boardroom, with recent figures confirming the 2012 election as the most expensive in history, about $700 million over the next most expensive election.
As our nation ramps up for 2016, the role of big data + social data in influencing election decisions cannot be ignored. Social data drove the 2008 presidential elections and big data drove the 2012 election. In 2016 it will be the marriage of the two that will determine the next President of the United States.
Back in 2008, online social impact was still in its infancy and while people flocked to social channels like Facebook and Twitter to share their thoughts and influence others, there was not yet a way to measure impact beyond overall sentiment.
Social media was akin to guerrilla marketing, and yet these tools were extremely influential in giving people a voice in the policies being discussed that swayed the outcome of the election. People wanted change and were not afraid to share their opinions in public conversations, and the global discussion encouraged others to step into the polling booth to cast their ballots.
Given that IBM is currently devising a restructuring plan that will involve cutting thousands of jobs worldwide, the announcement that it is launching new big data and analytics services to help manage workforces is just a little bit ironic.
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