PETALING JAYA: A targeted social media campaign, driven by big data analytics, helped Pakatan Harapan sway the May 9 general election in its favour, according to Invoke Malaysia.
“Our social media strategy was to target fence-sitters using big data,” said Naim Brundage, chief marketing officer of Invoke Malaysia, a digital marketing agency that managed the social media accounts of 103 Pakatan candidates during GE14.
Invoke spent more than RM800,000 on Facebook marketing but Barisan Nasional declined to reveal its spending.
Using over a million different data sets accumulated over the space of a year through voter rolls, surveys and data taken from social media, Invoke managed to execute targeted marketing campaigns.
In comparison to Pakatan’s data-driven campaign in which even the messaging they used was based on what people wanted to hear, Barisan took a more “top-down” approach.
“Our social media campaign was about letting Malaysian youths know what’s at stake,” said former Umno deputy youth chief Senator Khairul Azwan Harun.
“We showed the youths how we envisioned Malaysia as compared to what the (then) Opposition had planned.”
The two parties’ official Facebook pages are an indication of which approach worked – on the final day before the elections, Barisan’s 27 posts garnered almost 13,000 likes and shares while Pakatan’s six posts received almost 200,000.
“It’s hard to pin Pakatan’s win on one factor alone but Pakatan ran a very good campaign, on and off line, and Malaysians responded to that,” said Keith Leong, head of research at public affairs consulting firm KRA Group.
Some 22 million of Malaysia’s 35 million population are on social media, while 88% of the population, aged between 25 and 34, access the Internet on a daily basis, making Malaysia one of the biggest Facebook markets in the world.
But Leong made it clear that social media was only part of the GE14 equation.
“While young Malaysians may have responded positively to Pakatan’s social media marketing, we can’t discount how they also sacrificed their own time and efforts to participate in the electoral process,” Leong said.
“Simply put, it was a tech revolution but it was also powered by the youths.”
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