MAPPING THE GERMAN POLITICAL WEB for LINKFLUENCE DEUTSCHLAND

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MAPPING THE GERMAN POLITICAL WEB

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Industry Political/Religious/Trade Organizations
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Germany
Released July 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Digital PR
Advertiser: LINKFLUENCE DEUTSCHLAND
Product/Service: WAHLRADAR
Director: Oliver Jeschonnek (Publicis Consultants)
Managing Director: Oliver Tabino (Q I Agentur für Forschung / linkfluence)
Media placement: Co-Operation With TV News Channel In The Run-Up To The General Election In Germa - N24 - 8 September 2009
Media placement: Press Conference For Launch Resulting In Extensive Coverage In Online And Offlin - Online And Offline Media - May 2009

Summary of the Campaign

In the run-up to Germany’s general elections, we introduced a new and unique approach to webresearch. Wahlradar (i.e. “election radar”) maps and visualises the entire relevant German political web, focusing on how political websites and blogs link to each other. Wahlradar is a representative, nearly 3.000 sites strong image and sample of the German political web. For the first time it provides controlled conditions for political web-research as a prerequisite for valid and reliable quantitative data for the planning and evaluation of political campaigning. On this basis Wahlradar identifies opinion leaders, tracks topics and recognises trends. Moreover, it provides a strong visualisation of the German political web, showing how political sites are interconnected and form segments. We can analyse how communication spreads through the political web. Opinion swings and political issues can be visualised and identified in real time – before they spill over into the offline opinion arena. Wahlradar thus offers an effective basis for planning, implementation, controlling and evaluation of political web campaigns. Wahlradar was received enthusiastically by communication professionals, election campaign strategists and the German media (including national TV).

The Goal
So far web-research lacks a sound basis for quantitative research. Results of search engines are unreliable and instable, often not valid and full of duplications. The political relevance of sites it is taken from is often unclear and dubious. Valid comparisons through time are impossible. Wahlradar solved these problems by mapping the political web and ensuring solid ground for web-research, providing reliable and valid data and thus helping the planning and evaluation of political campaigning. Wahlradar has the potential to change the design of political Web 2.0 campaigns by offering an effective basis for planning, implementation, controlling and evaluation.

Results
Wahlradar was received enthusiastically by communication professionals, election campaign strategists and the German print and online media. Numerous press articles and blog postings about Wahlradar and its evaluations in - amongst others - Die Welt (one of the biggest German daily newspapers), PR Report (the most important print magazine of the German communications industry), sueddeutsche.de (the online offering of Süddeutsche Zeitung) or spreeblick.com (one of Germany’s most read blogs), etc. prove this point. The national TV news channel N24 used the tool for its daily pre-election news coverage, showing Wahlradar graphs and visualisations. The research-industry platform marktforschung.de published weekly analyses. The coverage of Wahlradar has opened up doors at different major companies that asked us to conduct similar analyses and mappings of other relevant web communities.

Execution
To raise awareness of Wahlradar, it was introduced on a press conference in May 2009 coming in handy for the intensifying news coverage of the election campaign leading to Germany’s general elections on September 27, 2009. Following the press conference, a press release including the link to the website was sent to journalists covering both political and digital topics. We also distributed promotional flyers at conferences, networking events, etc. To keep the coverage alive and to attract more people to the site we used a Twitter account and blog posts with analyses executed by Q I Agentur für Forschung covering current political topics. These analyses were also published on a public research platform. To make an impact on the political decision makers’ side, we arranged face-to-face meetings with the secretary generals of two major German parties and explained them the tool personally.

The Situation
Wahlradar is a co-production of an international web analysis company. It was developed and run to show the broad German public that there is an active political web community in the German web and that serious research can bring light into the way it works. It was developed as an instrument and tool for their ongoing international political research.

The Strategy
To develop Wahlradar, linkfluence’s crawlers searched the web for political sites, collected all their links, measured their importance and function in the political web, analysed clusters and segments and mapped the results in a two-dimensional mapping of the political web. Additionally we analysed several thousand German political websites and blogs personally and categorised them according to political affiliation or affinity. These websites forming the German political web were then integrated into an analytical user interface. The most relevant parts of the web were showcased at www.wahlradar.de, especially designed for this purpose.