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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Parties take the e-commerce route to influence voters

Himani Chandna Gurtoo, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 20, 2014
First Published: 01:39 IST(20/3/2014) | Last Updated: 01:42 IST(20/3/2014)

As the election season gets hotter, political parties have started taking lessons from the e-commerce websites. To win the race, parties including Congress and BJP, are now hiring data analytics firms — generally hired by e-commerce companies  — to take references on how they can go after the right audience.

These firms use cookies, a piece of information stored on users’ hard drive to track and help their surfing. Cookies act as spies as they record users’ browsing history such as clicking particular buttons, pages visited or items in the shopping cart as far back as months ago.

The firms buy cookies, by paying a decided amount, from various random portals under a confidentiality agreement.

“We are analysing the data for a political party to track the preferences of new age voter. And then the party would promote itself  in a manner that might influence the voter’s political decisions,” said Chandrabhanu Pattajoshi, business head, Precision Match, leading data analytics firm which denied to reveal the name of political party it is working for. However, official sources confirmed that it is handling BJP’s account.

This data will be used to understand the electorate at the individual voter level such as the number of voters who planned to vote for certain party, divided by those who planned to vote overall. Also, the intent will be to enable more targeted, efficient ad purchases.

“Data analysis would give leads to political parties in understanding which are the most accessed websites where they can post ads, what a netizen watches more — a poster ad or a video, which political subject or issue users are more interested in,” said Siddharth Puri, chief executive officer, Tyroo Media, a digital advertising firm which places ads across 5,000 online publishers. The company is reportedly working for the Aam Aadmi Party but refused to name it officially.

Parties are also hiring agencies to place paid articles on various websites. These agencies forward content, received from the political clients, to various paid bloggers to upload on their websites. 

“We assist the political parties with activities like article posting, blogger amplification, social media management, video posting and mobile marketing,” said Gaurav Patra, founder, Popkorn Communications.

Though the company refused to name the party it is working for, it has been associated with Congress in past projects.


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