This is How Labour Swung The Vote

This is How Labour Swung The Vote

No one really expected this, did they? Jeremy Corbyn an outsider in the race and yet as the election results unfolded last night it became clear that the contest was MUCH closer than predicted. With a 68% turnout and a hung Parliament, how did Jeremy Corbyn go from being a divisive figure with no chance of leadership to eroding Theresa May’s 28-point lead in 50 days?

In a nutshell: Labour were pro-active and the Conservatives were reactive.

Labour used what could possibly be one of the best executed Digital Marketing campaigns we’ve ever seen, certainly the best in the political world. So, take a bow Krow Agency – great job.

Here’s what we think Labour did better than everyone else.

Part 1: SEO, PPC Spend and Placement

Search Network, Display Network, Facebook Ads, Promoted Trends the list goes on. The Conservative party dispatched Labour in 2015 by spending more on Social Media at a time when all other parties, frankly, ignored it.

After learning the lessons of previous campaigns, Labour spent big online and particularly Social Media. Even developing its own platform called ‘Promote’ which found and segmented its online audience. By doing this Labour could deliver ads that contained media and policies that were directly sensitive to particular voters.

So obviously that made Labour’s money go further, more relevant ads allow for a lower bid amount. However, crucially it delivered media that was of great interest to the people who were seeing it. This is the digital equivalent of going door to door on a huge scale.

On top of that Labour created purpose built resource for search networks ads, targeting keywords around polling questions and locations. Labour developed a “Find my Polling Station” page that was served both Organically and Search Ads for terms that were synonymous with the page title.

Not only did Labour go into granularity like no one else did, they also made the most of the big opportunities. If you logged into Twitter on June 8th, you would have seen that all day the promoted national trend was #VoteLabour. Those promoted trends do not come cheap, you’re looking at a starting cost of approximately £150,000. So it took planning, it’s likely this ad space would have been negotiated not long after the snap election was announced.

Part 2: Targeting Young Voters

A clever distinction used in the Labour party campaign was that the often low turnout 18-24 demographic, would give them a chance. It took elements of Influence Campaigns and Social Media.

It is also reveals a very astute observation. It’s very difficult to sway someone from one political party to another, once they’ve decided, they usually stick. It’s actually easier to recruit new voters, people who have never voted for a party before.

It’s not a new phenomenon in marketing, the big tobacco companies of the mid 20th century for example couldn’t make a Marlboro Man smoke Benson & Hedges. So they went looking to gain new smokers.

So Labour set about getting young people to register as new voters. As long as they could crack the “Millenial Engagement” (sorry we all hate that term), they would stand to make big progress.

The trend emerges on Facebook, the Labour Party Facebook page had a total of 201 resources shared on “Register to Vote”. This compares to just 3 shared by the Conservative Party. Again reflecting Labour’s push on Social Media.

Combined with the ‘Promote’ platform Labour could target people with the right policies and media, then lead them to a resource to register to vote. To put this in agency speak, Labour used repeated exposure to relevant and varied content then intermittently hit them with the ‘sell’.

Again, Labour went into a level of granularity and details that no one else did. Creating meme pages on Facebook that used the virality of memes and how quickly they can be used to take advantage of campaign events and mishaps. This was no more clearer after Theresa May admitted that the naughtiest thing she’d ever done was “Run through a wheat field”. The memes were many and to be honest hilarious.

It worked, with 18-25 voter turnout at approximately 66%, the highest in a quarter of a century.


Ultimately this came down to the core principles of good marketing. They identified the true USP’s of the Labour Party then found the contexts and places in which the party could make serious in-roads. This was the single most important aspect. Because that meant that Labour could go on the offensive and they really did.

This meant that in a nutshell: Labour were pro-active and the Conservatives were reactive.

In getting their policies and messages about the people and the nation out to the public in volume and early. The Conservatives ended up falling into the old trap of simply reacting with personal attacks and smears. Instead of extolling the virtues of their manifesto.

As a small scale case study, we took the last 100 tweets (excluding retweets) from each party account. Looking at how many tweets were personal in nature about the opposition leader.

We’re writing this on the morning of the election result, so the history may look back differently – but this is how it looked today.

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