In the age of micro-targeting online, why are we still getting election leaflets?

I appeared on BBC Radio West Midlands this morning to explain why – in an age of social media and micro-targeting – those of us who live in boroughs with council elections taking place tomorrow are still getting plenty of leaflets posted through our doors.

Council elections are to elect councillors for a ward within a given borough. In London, typically, there are three council candidates per ward and they are elected to represent fairly small geographic areas.

For example, there are 22 wards in the London Borough of Brent alone.

Ideally your election communication to a constituent would say which candidates are standing for your party in each ward.

Someone living in one ward wants to know who is going to be their throat to choke if there’s a pothole on their road.

And, given the small size of wards, it’s not unreasonable to expect that candidates will be recognisable to some voters.

So, in order for your communication to be effective, you need to have the right candidates listed, for the right door on the right street.

It’s very difficult to target to that granular level on social media.

Leaflets however, usually hand delivered by activists or sent via direct mail, can easily be put through the correct letter box.

Not only are leaflets accurate with their targeting, they’re also economical.

Getting volunteers to deliver leaflets is pretty much free; the costs are the price of the printing and the cup of tea as a reward to the volunteer.

And you can be almost certain that someone living in the house will see the communication, even if it’s just carrying it from the front door to the recycling bin.

When you consider that the majority of Facebook video ads are watched for less than 3 seconds, that journey time is fairly lengthy by comparison.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Benedict…interesting post!! We at Royal Mail have a great insight piece on the impact of different media, including leaflets and addreseed mail, on the electorate. Be great to share that with you!

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