I’ve got a secret. I love election season. I know for most people, it’s a time of the year that they dread, but for me, it’s like Christmas. The part I love though, is not the politics.

Why I love presidential elections

Now I don’t blog about politics. It cuts too close to home for too many people, and there are lot people out there with very definitive points of view who are than glad to share those points of view with on Twitter. I’m not one of them.

So why do I love the election season? Well, in the next 18 months we’re about to see millions of dollars poured into marketing for each candidate. Hours of research will be done to determine how a TV ad should look or what an email subject line should say. The best part is that we get to sit back and watch to see how all these marketing efforts perform.

Here’s a quick example. Back in 2012, the most popular email subject line that the Obama campaigned used was “Hey”. That’s right just the word “Hey” was the best performing email subject line of the Obama campaign.

So what does that mean for me? Well, that example taught me that it’s okay to break our normal rules of creating email subject lines. You can be intriguing with your subject lines. So instead sending a subject line that read “Join a LifeGroup in 2015”, we instead wrote one that read “Are You Connected?”. This new subject line increased our open rate on an email that normally would have gotten passed over. (Click here for more lessons from the Obama campaign.)

If you want an in-depth look at how social media was used by Obama 2012, check out this e-book detailing the behind scenes. Regardless of your politics, the e-book shows how Obama used social media and email more effectively than any other candidate in our lifetime.

Here comes 2016…

Campaigns are about to spend millions of dollars on researching things that church communicators do every day. Emails, websites, social media campaigns all will heavily financed and tweaked to get the right impact. This is our chance to watch, observe and see what we can learn from their successes and mistakes.

Here’s one thing I’ll be watching for in this election cycle: Periscope and Meerkat. It will be interesting to see how news agencies and campaigns will use this tool to conduct interviews and behind the scenes tours. It will also be interesting to see how many candidates are caught off guard by the live streaming tool.

What implications does this have for a church? Are we going to start seeing churches ban live-streaming during church meetings? Will we see signs stating “No Live Streaming from Phones” as we enter worship services? What happens in these elections could effect what happens in our churches.

I’m also going to watch and see how campaigns use Instagram. Last election, Instagram wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now. How will campaigns provide call to actions in their posts? How will they create interesting content that will drive donations? Will some candidates ignore it because it leans towards a younger demographic?

We already know that some candidates prefer to announce their candidacy through social media channels. So we know that their campaigns are clued in on how important it is. This importance should give us some things to observe, think about and even use for our churches.