UK Electoral Commission Investigates Momentum, Messenger For Kids, And More In This Week’s Friday Download
December 8, 2017
By FTI Consulting
Thursday morning saw the UK Electoral Commission announce an investigation into Momentum, the grassroots movement widely credited with helping the Labour Party defy expectations in the June snap general election and changing the game in UK political campaigning. Citing potential “harm to voters’ confidence in elections”, the investigation will review both spending and funding, specifically whether Momentum spent more than the £39,000 they were permitted nationally as an unauthorised third-party campaign group.
If Crowdpac’s tweets are anything to go by, the Electoral Commission may well find significant wrong-doing in how the organisation raised and spent money during the campaign.
From a campaigning perspective, the important questions raised here are over the efficacy and suitability of existing campaigning laws and regulations. In particular, it highlights how technological advances like Facebook microtargeting render the separation between local and national campaigning somewhat artificial and outdated. As we’ve discussed before, an electioneering framework built to regulate TV, print, and radio is unsuitable for today’s campaign footprint. (Read Electoral Commission chair Sir John Holmes’s own views in the Times from last week here).
Momentum’s success seems to have come from being able to leverage a volunteer base who are (broadly-speaking) significantly more digitally savvy than their Conservative counterparts. As political campaigning and activism consolidates its position online, campaign engines will need to reflect the necessary skillsets.
Finally, a point on scale. The Vote Leave campaign, currently under investigation for their activity during the referendum, declared £6,789,892. Momentum’s disclosure represents 0.57% of that. With a budget-holder hat on for a second, the ROI on Momentum’s memes might warrant a second look…
You Get What You Pay For
After spending most of 2017 under fire for not regulating where brands’ ads are placed, YouTube is understandably keen to reassure businesses that their content won’t appear on videos featuring scantily clad children. So, what’s the plan? Video removal, human reviewers and…err…surcharge pricing.
YouTube offers two types of ads. There’s the version that you can skip over after a few seconds (these are placed automatically, with no direction from the advertiser), and there’s the “reserved inventory” ads (where advertisers buy space on specific videos ahead of time). It’s on the latter that YouTube is planning to raise prices by as much as 20%. So, if you want to be 100% sure that your ads won’t end up sponsoring fundamentalism, you’ may have to pay a higher price.
Get ‘Em While They’re Young
With teens favouring Snapchat and Instagram over Facebook, Zuckerberg’s found a new audience; 6 year olds. Messenger Kids is an app which parents can download onto their kid’s phone or tablet, create a profile for them and approve friends and family with whom they can text and video chat from the main Messenger app.
The obvious commercial benefit would be to target ads to parents based on what their kids are talking about, but Facebook says it won’t do that. Instead, it looks like the tech company is playing the long game, and if the new app can succeed where the now-defunct SnapKidz failed, it may well make sure it’s the social network of choice for the next generation of users.
Also This Week
Instagram lets you archive your favourite expired Stories – [Tech Crunch]
2017 was the year digital ad spending beat TV – [recode]
Could Vine’s six-second videos be back from the dead? – [alphr]
Mashable is reeling in its video ambitions after Ziff Davis sale – [Digiday]
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting LLP, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals, members or employees.
FTI’s digital practice in EMEA operates as a center of excellence for digital communications within the firm and is staffed by a team of practitioners with industry experience of consumer, corporate and financial communications. The team runs an active portfolio of multi-sector brands and partners with FTI’s teams and clients to provide a wide range of online reputation management services.