Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Your money in action

So I wanted to demonstrate some kind of tangible benefit from your unbelievably generous donations to the Scot Goes Pop fundraiser (which now has eight days left to run) over and above simply keeping the blog going until the referendum.  I didn't push the boat out too far, because obviously I'm going to have to be careful to make the money last.  In fact I barely nudged the boat at all!  But I did run a little experiment by placing a dirt cheap £18 ad on Facebook, just to test what would be possible over the coming months.  It publicises yesterday's post about the Tories taking an outright lead in a second GB-wide opinion poll, and its potential implications for the independence referendum.  This is what it looks like -

Other than a minimum age, the only targeting option I used was 'in Scotland'.  I didn't specifically try to reach people who are interested in politics, partly because that would mean preaching to the converted or the unconvertible, and partly because such people are likely to have friends with similar interests who are constantly sharing links about the referendum anyway.  I just wanted to reach random voters, including people who the indyref hashtag rarely finds its way to.  I seriously considered targeting women specifically, although I decided against it in the end because it would have meant reaching fewer people overall.  And with about 20% of the ad's expenditure still left to run, this is the number of people in Scotland it has reached so far  -

So by the time it has run its course it may well have been seen by up to 14,000 voters.  Not too shabby for £18.

Why did I choose that particular post to publicise?  As Mick Pork pointed out yesterday, it's all very well saying that a Tory lead in the GB-wide opinion polls will make people more likely to vote for independence, but that's not terribly helpful if most people don't follow the opinion polls and therefore don't actually know that the Tories have taken the lead.  So I thought it would be nice to do something practical about that problem.  By the time the ad has finished, approximately 1 in 300 of the voting age population of Scotland will have seen the words "Increase in support for independence expected as another new poll suggests the Tories are heading for victory in next year's UK general election".  Of course only a small percentage of people have followed the link through to this blog, but that doesn't matter as long as the basic message has got through to some extent.

Apart from illustrating a side-benefit of the fundraiser, this hopefully demonstrates how any blogger with a few pounds to spare can get a message through to undecided voters in a cost-effective manner.  But I think the trick is to contain the full essence of the message in the title - there's no point in relying on people clicking through to the blogpost itself, because in most cases that won't happen.  It's probably also best to make sure that the message is actually something that will make undecided voters stop and think, rather than just a random slagging off of Johann Lamont or Blair McDougall (however richly deserved that slagging off would undoubtedly be).

I'll have to do this reasonably sparingly, but I'll try to select the most useful looking posts, and promote them in the same way between now and the referendum.


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  2. Excellent and clever targeting James.

    As you rightly point out it's the most pertinent and useful information that must be highlighted when casting a wide net.

    There's no doubt whatsoever that the tories taking the lead in the polling is going to hammer home to the scottish public the dangers of a NO vote and business as usual at Westminster.

    Happily it's also something the media won't be able to resist reporting at length should it continue. They aren't yet however. So for now it is indeed a very newsworthy and valuable talking point even for those not that interested in politics. Easy to understand and with obvious implications for the scottish public.

    A scottish public who are somewhat unlikely to be best pleased at the prospect of a bunch of out of touch tories winning power again and dictating policy from westminster. There are still more pandas than scottish tory MPs for a reason.

    You are of course the best arbiter of what posts to use and how. If I might offer a suggestion though? One of the reasons your polling analysis is thought to be so useful and astute by so many is a very simple and compelling one.

    You have been proved correct.

    In amusingly sharp contrast to Britain's only living psephologist (Curtice) you spotted very early on that the polls were shifting and narrowing and highlighted that they were. Curtice on the other hand refused to accept it and made post after post 'explaining' how the polls weren't really narrowing at all. Or if they were then it was by an inconsequential amount. Well we can now see that they have quite obviously narrowed significantly and even Curtice can't deny that any more. This would be the same Curtice who got it very wrong indeed in 2011 yet for some bizarre reason is still thought of as some kind of infallible polling guru by unionists and a few others who should really know better.

    So, to cut a long story short, an article highlighting how you spotted the narrowing of the polls long before the unionists and their friendly pundits ever did might be very useful. Not just because it's true, but because it exposes that the gap has now self-evidently narrowed and that the unionists shrieking about how easy and certain a win it's going to be for the NO campaign were and still are are talking out of their arse.

  3. " This would be the same Curtice who got it very wrong indeed in 2011 yet for some bizarre reason is still thought of as some kind of infallible polling guru by unionists "

    I think you have answered why he is popular with unionists.

  4. well done and you ARE getting the message across


  5. That's a fantastic idea and an amazing way to reach people. Brilliant! And I hope a good proportion will follow through and read the blog.