The Conservative Party are running paid-for video advertising on YouTube which is targeting voters in marginal constituencies around the country.
This is a ‘first’ in UK politics as no political party to my knowledge has used the platform in this way before. Yes, political parties have long been posting videos to YouTube (which tend to gain minimal views) but no one has put serious media money behind them in order to make sure target voters view the content.
TV advertising is widely accepted to be the most powerful media in hitting businesses objectives; the Conservative Party’s ability to pay for a TV-like medium in their campaign is a massive bonus.
As the Buzzfeed Political Editor notes:
“This gives the Conservatives a massive campaigning advantage over their rivals and allows them to reach potential voters who do not read newspapers or watch TV.”
Political advertising is not allowed on TV outside of sanctioned Party Political Broadcast slots, however as YouTube can now reach mass audiences that law seems increasingly outdated. And the fact that YouTube can target voters much more accurately than traditional TV channels means that, in some ways, it’s an even more potent platform.
The 3 videos featured above are examples of the adverts that target voters will have been served so far. As there’s no requirement for the videos to ‘go viral’ in order to drive views, the Conservatives can afford to be much more direct about their message – something that they seem to be relishing.