We asked top practitioners from different corners of the industry to make predictions about the future of campaigns in 2016 and beyond. Here’s what they told us:
Melissa Ryan, director, client services, Trilogy Interactive: Medium, Snapchat, and Instagram are the current shiny objects for presidential digital teams. Next year, Senate and House races will begin using those platforms for engagement. Snapchat and Instagram, in particular, are starting to pitch ads to campaigns. The presidential races will take them up on it, but I'm skeptical that we'll see large spends from anyone else on either platform next year.
Casey Phillips, co-founder of RedPrint Strategy: We're already seeing clients come in the door with a lot more data on who they want to talk to and what they want to say, and it's forcing us to produce more product at a faster rate. Cheaper and more raw content is in demand, but so are the high-budget concept ads and beauty shots. Regardless of the delivery system, good creative content is still the best way to deliver a message and will be in 2016.
Brian Ross Adams, Los Angeles-based digital consultant: Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee and his continued use of social media to bypass traditional media outlets and campaign communications will mark a fundamental shift in how campaigns organize themselves to handle a minute-by-minute news cycle as opposed to the 24-hour news cycle. We will go from rapid response to immediate response. Hold on tight.
Kevin Collins, director of research, Analyst Institute: In 2016 pollsters will need to figure out how to make the transition to online interviewing, before falling phone response rates render phone surveys unreliable. We are already seeing a dramatic growth in online surveys, from Pew's American Trends Panel experiments, to Survey Monkey's entry into election polling, to the rise of new online-only polling efforts like Morning Consult and Civiqs (and even Microsoft through its Xbox platform), all joining the ranks of established online polling operations such as YouGov and GfK's KnowledgePanel.
However, while all of these surveys use similar means to interview the electorate, their methods for sampling and recruiting respondents vary widely. While with an earlier generation of polling these three steps were all linked to a phone call (e.g. random digit dialing, with recruitment moving straight into the survey interview), for online survey interviewing these steps are separated, and as a result methodologies are diversifying. For example, some online polls re-sample from a pool of opted-in participants, while others use samples based on voter files. So in 2016, I expect that we will see a renaissance in methods for sample construction, recruitment, and statistical adjustment to deliver representative online survey responses.
Liz Chadderdon, president of The Chadderdon Group: I predict whomever comes in third in New Hampshire will be the Republican nominee and it won't be Trump.
Kurt Luidhardt, co-founder of The Prosper Group: The robust GOP presidential field has been great for Republican digital vendors and staffers: There’s a significant demand for our service. Although it’s created a temporary market crunch for qualified staff, the campaigns are a great training ground. For firms like mine, it will significantly increase the potential pool of qualified Republican digital staff in 2016. And that’s a great thing for us.
Tracy Dietz, executive vice president of L2: Let’s start with the important one: In 2016 we'll see the Chicago Cubs win the World Series. As for politics, general election turnout will be lower then both 2012 and 2008. The GOP convention will not be brokered, and we'll see Nikki Haley giving the speech as the VP nominee.