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Direct Marketing News and Updates

by | Oct 28, 2016

Whether you’ve been getting ready for the Halloween weekend or getting spooked by this year’s presidential election, you may have missed some key industry updates that happened during the past few weeks. From last-minute advertising updates on the election to Facebook’s Bots, keep reading to get caught up on all that’s happened in the industry:

Election 2016

Just in time for the last few weeks before decision day, Bing rolled out their new election insights tab in hopes of becoming the place to go for all things Election 2016. The feature offers real-time polling data updates as well as live streaming of debates and election day coverage. The new interface also gives users compiled information about each candidate and their take on important issues.

This election isn’t just resulting in interesting search engine behavior, it’s also bringing up compelling insights about how to use different marketing and advertising techniques that all professionals in the industry can use. In an analysis of each candidate’s use of email marketing, researchers at Mailjet found that Donald Trump’s email marketing efforts are outperforming Hillary Clinton’s. However, the research also found that both campaigns had missed key opportunities when it came to their email marketing. Don’t make the same mistakes as our candidates by overlooking cross device compatibility and personalization in your email campaigns. This election has also shown that traditional advertising techniques, such as television ads, are becoming less important and social media is coming to the forefront as this election season has candidates spending less money on television ads than seen in years past. Instead, candidates are seeing the importance of social media and are attempting to play it to their advantage.

With candidates using social media more frequently, voters are also jumping on social media to voice their opinion. While people have always used social media platforms to speak out, Twitter and Facebook are making it even easier. Twitter created special hashtags with matching emojis for each of the presidential debates, which ended up being widely used by both citizens and journalists covering the events, and Facebook created a tool that allowed its users to endorse a certain candidate on their Facebook page.


Following an election season that has seen more shocking headlines than ever, Facebook has updated its community standards regarding graphic images and content. Per the new standards, as long as the content posted is “newsworthy,” Facebook will look past its traditional community standards to bring the post to your news feed, whether the image and its content is offensive or not. This comes after a request by Facebook users to not censor content.

A change in Facebook’s algorithm is allowing the platform to rank stories on a user’s news feed in real-time, rather than loading new stories when the user finishes reading the page or clicks refresh. Facebook is calling the new ranking system a ‘client-side news feed’ because the ranking is occurring each moment in front of the user. This client-side news feed means that it will be easier for marketers and advertisers attempting to reach emerging markets or places with slower internet connections, and people that reside within these markets will experience a decrease in loading time and empty gray boxes.

In regards to Facebook’s influence on the community, election officials have said that Facebook’s voter registration campaign helped drive an urge in voter registration this year. The campaign is just one way that Facebook has improved engagement with the community. Another example of this is Facebook’s new business tools which will allow businesses on Facebook to get in touch with consumers in an easier way. The business tools update provides additional call-to-action button options on business pages which include ‘start order’ or ‘buy ticket.” This update also allows users to get recommendations from Facebook on posts where users ask for advice from friends about which restaurant to try or where to get their hair cut.


The trend of using chatbots to interact with potential customers is getting more popular in the world of consumer technology. Instead of using applications—which were an extremely popular way to interact with consumers just a few years ago—more companies are using chatbots to improve the customer experience. For example, eBay has begun using a ShopBot on Facebook messenger to act as a customer service associate to help potential customers find the exact item they are looking for. The bot can see what users are interested in through their Facebook profiles and provide recommendations when the users begin a chat with them. This provides new opportunities for brands looking to reach customers and move them further down the sales funnel through social media.

Bots are also being employed to help presidential candidates advertise. A new study by an Oxford University professor found that 25 percent of debate tweets are posted by bots. These bots are Twitter accounts that are specifically set up to post propaganda for one of the presidential candidates. The bots then use various hashtags that are popular in discussing the debate or election news and tweet pro-Trump or pro-Clinton posts. The New York Times is also using a Facebook ChatBot to send presidential election predictions to users each morning. Some experts are even saying that the use of chatbots and Twitter bots this election are skewing the results of online election polls. So while most politicians say the only poll that matters is the one on November 8th, the lack of accuracy in polls seen in months past could result in a big surprise on Election Day.


(Provided by Carousel30, a Capitol Communicator sponsor.)


About the Author

Greg Kihlström

Greg is an award-winning digital strategist, creative director, author and speaker. He is currently SVP Digital at Yes& (a Capitol Communicator Sponsor) as of Fall 2017 when Carousel30, the agency he founded, was acquired. He has worked with brands such as AARP, AOL, Booz Allen Hamilton, Choice Hotels, GEICO, Howard University, Marriott, MTV, The Nature Conservancy, Porsche, Toyota, United Nations and others. His work has won awards from the ADDYs, Webbys and others, been featured in books by HarperCollins and Rockport Press, publications such as Advertising Age, Communication Arts, Web Designer and Website magazine. He currently serve as VP of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) District 2, and as a Board Member of the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Marketing Industry Mentoring Board (MIMB). He is Past President of AAF DC, and served on the National Board of AAF, Board of Trustees of the Trust for the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the Board of AIGA DC, and the Trust for the National Mall's National Advisory Board.


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