A new level of geo-targeted advertising is being offered by Twitter ahead of the general election in May.
The social media network says political parties will now be able to promote both individual candidates and local issues on a constituency by constituency basis, according to Wired.
Twitter already had geo-targeting services on offer, but this is the first time it has provided it at such a specific level – until now it had been for broad regions and metropolitan areas only.
In a blog, Gordon Macmillan of Twitter UK explained the possible benefits to candidates.
Finding out about specific issues
The exact issues bothering people in a specific area are usually difficult to find out without conducting multiple surveys. With this Twitter offering, candidates could gain a better understanding of what people want by asking them different questions in different postcodes.
If local voters have little knowledge about a candidate in their constituency, targeted advertising gives them the opportunity to gain more of a reputation. Considering that 81 current MPs will be stepping down this year, a large number of new faces will soon face this challenge.
Once they have all the necessary information about the main issues concerning people in different areas, politicians can post personalised messages about how they intend to deal with those problems.
So in an area with high crime they could talk about how they intend to deal with it , whereas they could focus on how to improve schools if that was considered the most important task in the local
The rise of smartphones
Twitter has also put forward the argument that since smartphones are now more widely used than they have been in the run up to any previous general election, which means many people will be using them as their primary source of election-related information. In the case of Twitter, 80 per cent of usage comes from mobile phones.