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International Business Times: Election 2016: Political Ads Are About To Surge On Facebook And Your Phone

If you are already feeling overwhelmed by the incessant coverage of a presidential election that's still 15 months away, we have some bad news: It is about to get a lot worse, especially on your phones and in your social media feeds. After spending $159 million on digital advertising in 2012, candidates and their supporters will pour more than $1 billion into spots that will appear in voters’ Facebook feeds, smartphones and email in-boxes in 2016, media research firm Borrell Associates says. The digital surge is part of a 20 percent increase in ad spending Borrell anticipates for 2016, bringing the projected grand spending total to $11.4 billion. “This is the year digital spending moves from asterisk to contender as a political advertising media choice,” writes the report’s principal author, Kip Cassino. “From 2016, its share will only grow -- mostly at the expense of broadcast TV.”

ShareProgress: Social Sharing 201: Facebook

We’ve shared lots of best practices on the blog (check out our best practices tag for proof!). But for this post, we wanted to put all of our best Facebook advice in one place–and add in some new best practices, for folks who’ve been following along the whole time. We’ve compiled a master list of what we’ve learned from running comprehensive tests about what works to drive greater engagement from social sharing on Facebook, and what falls flat. All of the results included here are from tests that had statistically-significant results. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Huffington Post: How Nonprofits Can Increase Engagement Through Gamification

If you work at a nonprofit organization, you know it can be tough to engage your supporter base. Even though the work you're doing to save the world is critically important, it's hard to compete for people's attention. This is particularly true for engaging supporters online, when you're up against Tumblr blogs of adorable animals, playing Candy Crush Saga, and watching the latest TV episodes on Hulu. Fortunately, there are ways out there to increase supporter engagement — and a particularly powerful one is gamification. What is Gamification? Gamification is the process of taking tactics often used in games and applying them to serious activities. Games do a great job of engaging people — the idea of gamification is to capture that appeal and use it to make non-game activities more interesting and fun for users.

Quartz: How to tell whether a Twitter user is pro-choice or pro-life without reading any of their tweets

By analyzing more than 100,000 tweets published throughout this heated debate, we’ve identified how the movement spread, initially through the feminist and conservative communities and then to a dense cluster of users labeling themselves as #Gamergate. Additionally, we show how we can accurately infer a user’s views on abortion using their connections to other users—without ever reading their tweets or profile.

Wired: Sorry Snapchat, but you're not winning this election

EVERY ELECTION SEASON has its shiny new toy, and this year, Snapchat is most definitely it. We’ve already seen Rand Paul take a chainsaw to the tax code on Snapchat. Jeb Bush announced his campaign on the platform. And, most recently, Hillary Clinton cheekily gushed to Iowans about how much she loves Snapchat because “those messages disappear all by themselves.”

Epolitics: How Connecting Email to Social Media Drives Engagement

Email marketing is an amazing tool – when it works. It’s still the strongest connective tissue in the digital ecosystem, and generates the highest return on investment of any marketing channel. Despite email’s maturity, most marketers are still figuring out how to integrate targeting information from social media. The problem has been limited access to data with the emphasis on historical behavior, transactional and click data, – leaving marketers with the task of piecing together a puzzle to identify the factors leading to conversions. This article explores how connecting email to social media drives engagement and how to apply it to your own engagement initiatives.

Social Media Today: How to Create a Social Media Calendar that Follows a Clear Strategy

Many social media managers have perfected their social firehose, filling the social networks with tons of posts for their company or clients. But often when examining these posts over a time period, I fail to see a consistent strategy that guides their efforts. Social Media Calendar TemplateCreating a Social Media Calendar which follows a clear strategy can improve the results you get from social media marketing. Just the act of creating a social media calendar can help you to stop and think more strategically about your social media goals.

The Campaign Workshop: Starting a Relationship with Your Consultants

Any experienced campaign manager or campaign operative can recall a bad experience working with a consultant. Perhaps the consultant couldn’t deliver what they promised, they were unresponsive or didn’t hit deadlines. Undoubtedly, a lot of what goes into a successful relationship depends on the campaigns and the consultants themselves. How you start the relationship is important. As a former political organizer turned consultant, here are my tips on how to jumpstart a successful relationship your campaign consultants.

echo: 5 Tips for Nonprofits Considering a New Website

Are you a nonprofit considering a new website? Before you get overwhelmed with all the technical details, it is important to be sure you are grounded in the basic elements that will make your site effective in supporting your mission. Here are five things to consider when kicking off the planning of a new site: 1. Put the user first. 2. Have clear and compelling content. 3. Showcase your impact. 4. Offer opportunities for other to help. 5. Be social and mobile friendly.

Los Angeles Times: Essential Politics: No more fundraising emails -- for a moment

Our team decided to collect every last message in the the onslaught of solicitations over the final 48 hours of the third quarter. We analyzed the notes for what they suggest about the campaigns. "Deadline," "help" and "immediately" were the most common terms. We found staffers who received slightly different solicitations based on their ZIP Code. One of us was asked to give $1. The other got a $5 ask — even though every word in the note was identical.

Twitter: Political donations, now through a Tweet

When people have conversations about politics, they have them on Twitter. It’s what voters learn and share in these conversations that routinely motivates political action. That’s why we’re making it easier for Twitter users to actively support candidates and causes. We’ve teamed up with Square to enable anyone in the US to make a donation directly to a US candidate through a Tweet, starting today. This is the fastest, easiest way to make an online donation, and the most effective way for campaigns to execute tailored digital fundraising, in real time, on the platform where Americans are already talking about the 2016 election and the issues they are passionate about.

NPR: 2016 Campaigns Will Spend $4.4 Billion On TV Ads, But Why?

The 2016 election is already providing a lot of eye-popping statistics about the ballooning spending candidates will do in the 2016 election. Among them: * Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's superPAC has already raised more — in the first half of a non-election year — than Obama's main superPAC did in all of the 2012 cycle. * The latest big TV ad buy in the 2016 presidential election — on Ohio Gov. John Kasich's behalf, totaling $375,000 — is worth more than seven times the annual median U.S. household income. * There have already been seven times more political ads in the 2016 election than at this point in the 2012 election, according to Elizabeth Wilner, senior vice president at Kantar's Campaign Media and Analysis Group. Or just try to digest the aggregate numbers. For instance, political TV ad spending will top $4.4 billion for federal races this year, up from $3.8 billion in 2012, Wilner estimated. Yet TV ads seem to have only small effects on how Americans vote. So why do campaigns spend such huge chunks of their budgets on television spots? It's the need for name recognition, at first. Later on, fear, habit and the hunger for the small sliver of votes at play also drive the huge spending.

Twitter: Five tips for brands from #Twitter4Politics

The Twitter DC team brought together 200 Washington insiders for the annual #Twitter4Politics event. The key insights that emerged from the event were simple but powerful. They were also applicable well beyond the Beltway for brands who want to build affinity and drive action.

ActBlue: Mobile giving just got a whole lot better

We’re always trying to improve our Contribution Forms — that means eliminating inefficiencies and making them more user friendly on every device. And nothing has seemed more inefficient to us than typing in 16-digit credit card numbers with your thumbs on a mobile device. That’s why we’re introducing ActBlue Express Pass, built with our 1.5 million Express user pool in mind. It lets Express users with a mobile phone number bypass the form by simply clicking a link in a text message to give. Express users are donors who have saved their payment information with ActBlue and can give in a single click. Here’s how it works: If an Express user starts filling out a Contribution Form on a device that doesn’t have their information stored and they have a mobile number associated with their account, we’ll offer them an Express Pass. Users fill in an average of 111 characters on a form, but with Express Pass they only have to enter their email address.

Change.org: Petition Trends: 4 Reasons Petitions to #StopYulin2015 Went Viral

A petition to save Beau the dog became Change.org’s most popular animal victory and the fourth most popular victory of all time when more than 630,000 people stopped the city of Dyersburg, Tennessee from putting him down. Millions more have supported a variety of animal petitions and victories on the site, making animal protection the most popular cause area on Change.org. So when petitions to stop the Dog Meat Festival in Yulin started gaining traction in early June, we knew people would voice support. But the response was even bigger than we anticipated.

Netroots Foundation: How to not ruin your website

How do you get a beautiful new site that meets your needs, on time and on budget? One of the first things we recommend people do is read up on the latest web design trends. See Frogloop and Mashable articles for what’s hot in 2014 and 99 Designs for what’s hot in 2015.

Share Progress: Top 4 A/B Testing Myths BUSTED

Maybe you’re not so sure about A/B testing, or you have a coworker with some questions about it? We’ve listed four common myths about A/B testing, and what the truth really is for each one. Myth #1: You and your supporters like exactly the same stuff. You like the environment. Your 80-year-old supporter Dolores likes the environment. You guys have a lot in common already! So maybe she’s been retired for 20 years, and lives in Fort Meyers, Florida, and subscribe to Birder’s World. And maybe you’re 24, and live in Brooklyn, and get most of your news from Vice’s Snapshot stories. But if you think something’s funny, she’ll definitely think it’s funny too, and then share it with their Facebook friends. You do both like the environment, after all.

New York Times: Facebook Use Polarizing? Site Begs to Differ

For years, political scientists and social theorists have fretted about the Internet’s potential to flatten and polarize democratic discourse. Because so much information now comes through digital engines shaped by our preferences — Facebook, Google and others suggest content based on what consumers previously enjoyed — scholars have theorized that people are building an online echo chamber of their own views. But in a peer-reviewed study published on Thursday in the journal Science, data scientists at Facebook report the echo chamber is not as insular as many might fear — at least not on the social network. While independent researchers said the study was important for its scope and size, they noted several significant limitations.

Social Media Today: Social Advocacy and Politics: Twitter and the Candidates on Day One

We now have four official candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination, three Republicans and one Democrat. Each of them used Twitter to promote their announcements. How they used it varies tremendously among them. It is too soon to tell if their initial Twitter splash (twash?) is indicative of things to come, but the contrasts in tactics and results are striking. Why does this matter, you might ask? Indicators from the last presidential primary season suggests that there is a correlation between who dominates social media and who leads in the polls at any given point in time. While this is not necessarily a predictor of final outcomes, it certainly affects media coverage and public attention at any moment in the campaign cycle.

The Washington Post: Why would Hillary Clinton join LinkedIn? Is it even still a thing?

To political junkies whose social network of choice is Twitter and who haven't touched their LinkedIn profile in years, Hillary Rodham Clinton joining the Internet's "professional" social network on Thursday might seem a little weird. Does anyone care she's on LinkedIn? Is there any political benefit to be reaped from it? Is it even still a thing? There might not be a strong overlap between LinkedIn users and people in politics or media, but the site has 115 million users in the United States, according to the company, and 28 percent of all Internet users are on it, compared with 23 percent on Twitter, per Pew, so yes, it's still a thing. It's just not a thing for getting news.

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