Mumbai: While the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani’s website seems to particularly draw men, Congress party’s online presence seems to be more attractive to people in the 45-60 year category.
These interesting facts are indicated in a study based on ViziSense, an Internet audience measurement tool developed by online advertising agency Komli Media Pvt. Ltd. The study looked at how political websites for the Congress and the BJP attracted differing types of visitors from 1 March to 30 April.
Also See Visitor Profile (Graphic)
Overall, L.K. Advani fared better in attracting males to his site Lkadvani.in than the Congress site, www.congress.org.in, where the break-up of male and female visitors, 81% and 19%, respectively, is in line with the Internet population ratio of 80:20.
With 90% male visitors on his site, Advani’s site fares 15% higher than the Indian average of online males, and does a much better job in attracting men than, say, an auto site such as Gaadi.com, where the number of male visitors is just 9% higher than the Indian average.
The BJP leader’s ability to attract women to the site, however, is almost 58% lower than the Indian average at 9%, the study reveals. The Congress, on the other hand, does a much better job of attracting women to the site with 19% female visitors.
“While we can only speculate on the reasons, there are a few things that could contribute to this phenomenon... One, we have a woman leader in (party president) Sonia Gandhi. Two, (Congress general secretary) Rahul Gandhi is a young leader who has a considerable following among women. And the third could be that women may lean towards the Congress, as it is seen as a more secular, more peaceful party,” says Ranjan Bargotra, president of Crayons Advertising Ltd, which is in charge of the advertising and marketing strategy for the Congress.
To be sure, Advani has an upper hand when it comes to bridging the generation gap. Although the older generation may not be present in large numbers over the Internet, the few that are present are definitely leaning towards spending more time on a BJP website. ViziSense data suggests that his campaign to woo the online youth also makes him popular among audiences in the 15-24 years age group, which accounts for 33% of the visitors. He also does well with people who are at least 60 years, accounting for 16% of the visitors, a whopping 322% higher than the Indian average.
The Congress, on the other hand, is popular with visitors in the age group of 45-60, which account for 25% of their visitors on their site. This is 156% better than the Indian average and 150% better than the reach Advani’s site has with this age group.
Online data also suggests that Advani has captivated audiences more in Haryana and Tamil Nadu versus the Congress. “Advaniji has, for very long, had a long and special bond with the people in Tamil Nadu but beyond this, the launch of his book My Country, My Life in Tamil early this year, may have had something to do with it,” said Sushil Pandit, director, The Hive, which routinely handles advertising and marketing for the BJP.
BJP-ruled Karnataka seems to be surfing the Congress site 45% more than the Advani site. The Congress also seems to have a better footing in New Delhi and Mumbai compared with Advani led-BJP online, with 12% and 22% more traffic, respectively. Users in Chennai spent a large amount of time on Advani’s page, with approximately 220% more visitors than the Congress site.
While the BJP and the Congress featured high up on the list of top political websites, a relatively new entrant, the Jago Party, came in fourth with 110,000 unique visitors, leaving other party websites such as Telugudesam.org, Shivesena.org and Aiadmkallindia.org trailing in its wake.
These figures could have some significance, considering that this general election has been different in two significant ways: it will be the first time that as much as 40% of the electorate will be first-time voters—young people who have just crossed the voting age of 18 years—and it will the first time in the country’s independent history that urban areas have a representation in the Lok Sabha proportionate to their population. The country’s rural areas have usually enjoyed more representation.
Both these factors, and a population of 57 million who claim to use the Internet, according to industry lobby group Internet and Moblie Association of India, has meant that political parties, especially the Congress and the BJP, went all out with their strategy online.
Still, a strong online presence or a digital campaign is no guarantee of success, says an expert. “More people are online and that has meant that a lot of political parties used new election technology this time round. However, we really don’t know how it’s going to go down… All these are guessing games. We will only know when the results are declared on the 16th,” said B.G. Verghese, political analyst and visiting professor, Centre for Policy Research, a Delhi-based think tank.
Graphics by Ahmed Raza Khan / Mint