India has witnessed the victory of electoral democracy with a large mandate in this year’s Lok Sabha elections. Quite a number of digital strategies, innovative ideas along with various data tools were used to get the attention of a whopping 130 million new voters that were added to the electorate. The post millennials within the age group of 18-22 years are the ones who are mostly on social media platforms and who are most updated with the current happenings around. Their social media feeds are their newspapers and that engagement was seen during the elections 2019.

On record, India’s Lok Sabha elections 2019 spend was a staggering $7 billion which was more than 6.2 $ billion spent during the US Presidential elections of 2016. With the help of Data Analytics, micro targeting of the audience was achieved and that gave an impetus to various Political Parties to go for campaigning on various social media platforms.

As more than 50 percent of the youth today are tech savvy, the Political Parties used that to get their participation in elections through digital media. The campaigns that were visible in the official pages saw a huge engagement before and after the elections process.

Why did they choose to campaign digitally ?

Digital Media has become quite a game changer among the youth today and with majority of them having smartphones and Internet access, it provides a natural appeal for instant participation. So therefore Digital platforms are the best means when it comes to reach and engagement. With the frenzy for elections no less than festivals, social media became an excellent tool to build and keep loyal fans.

Secondly, in order to appeal to the people within the age group of 18-25 years, they put a fresh spin to the process of campaigning by focusing on digital media. This time the aim was not just to interact with the previous years voters but also to attract new voters. 

The digital campaigns highlighted the different roadshows, participatory addresses, short clips which kept the people updated on the status of the election campaigns.

How did they use Digital Marketing in Lok Sabha Elections 2019?

Most of the people like to consume information in a personalised and customized way. Right from their Twitter handles, Facebook newsfeed to Instagram feed and YouTube channels, they all want personalised content.  

Also the anonymous nature of engagements and reactions have played a big role in engagement leads to various posts going viral on social media. This very fact has been capitalized by different political parties by putting a fair amount of innovative, transformative, sarcastic and musical videos on different social media platforms. 

Various formats/ types of content such as graphics,videos, articles, opinion polls, infographics, interactive contents were used to target the primary audience that comprised of both the past and the new voters. 

A well known fact is that users of different social media platforms like to read and understand if the content is in their native language. The political parties during their campaigns targeted Tier 2,3 and 4 cities and towns and tried deploy in-dept targeting that included variables like location, gender, interest groups and the language. The added advantage was that by using vernacular content, the platforms were able to reach out to a wider audience. 

The brilliant use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) enabled a huge following on various social media platforms. As Facebook caters to an estimate of 1.15 billion active users, different Facebook pages were created with election specific messages in order to form a different fan following. The Digital Outreach Program resulted in a huge surge in people taking part in the digital election campaigns. 

Gone were the days when election campaigns were done by distribution of pamphlets to households. Elections of 2019 in India saw a whole new paradigm shift in the elections campaign happening all across the country. 

The Paradigm Shift

Political parties resorting to make use of Digital Marketing over the Traditional Marketing has caused a paradigm shift in the election campaigns. The spectrum of the reach is such that the shift cannot be ignored easily. The parties had made use of their online presence to their benefits and have gone for mass penetration through various digital platforms on the Internet. 29.5 % of the Indian population has access to Internet today as compared to 3 percent 10 years back according to the World Bank stats report. Also the estimated number of mobile users in India stand at around 430 million as of 2018. This online ecosystem has rightly paved the path for different political parties to invest in online resources. This created enough excitement in the minds of the people before the actual voting. It ignited responses and feedbacks of all sorts. They followed 4 goals of targeting audience which were- Engagement, Interest, Desire and Action. Also different parties achievements were showcased on the official Facebook or Twitter handles in order to generate a loyal fan following. 

The MyGov India ( official) page on Facebook is one such example that has focussed on continuous trust building for the government by updating each and every work on progress. This has also been successful in invoking the sentiment of welfare into the minds of the ones who remain active on various digital platforms. 

#meinbhichowkidar was one of the most viral hashtags used by many people on an online platform to show support to BJP in the Lok Sabha elections 2019. 

All said and done, Lok Sabha elections 2019 has rightly made use of Digital Marketing to its fullest and invested in online media smartly. From now onwards Digital Marketing will come up as the most sought after domain as far as any campaigns or event promotional activities are concerned.

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