As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday appeared set to retain power, the party emerged as a clear winner on social networks and traditional media platforms -- reaching out to its target audience in a much more organised and methodological manner than its rivals.
The BJP's well-oiled social media machinery swung into action several months in advance and soon garnered top ratings across print, TV and social media networks. The party also ramped up its publicity drive to reach out to the maximum number of voters with catchy radio jingles that flooded FM channels across the country.
The BJP's catchlines like "Phir ek baar Modi Sarkar," "Modi hai to Mumkeen Hai," "Main Bhi Chowkidar", "Modi Tsunami" and "Aaayga to modi Hi" were instant hits across age groups. However, it was "Main Bhi Chowkidar" that became a thumping success on social media platforms while the Congress' "Chowkidar Chor Hai" campaign failed to create an impact.
While 54 per cent of the nation's top digital media leaders believed that the "Main Bhi Chowkidar campaign" was impactful, 65 per cent believed that the "Chowkidar Chor Hai" campaign was a miss, according to a survey by Noida-based leading influencer marketing firm Buzzoka.
Nearly 91 per cent agreed that digital media has the power to influence voter perception in the country while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party BJP were considered to be the most active leader and party on social media.
Radio as a medium saw a marked growth in political ad-insertions, and the BJP went all out on radio jingles. In March, the Bharatiya Janata Party with 88 per cent share topped radio's political ad insertion list, according to TAM AdEx, a division of Tam Media Research.
On social media platforms, the BJP had an early lead which only got cemented as the seven-phase elections inched closer. Led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, political parties in India spent a total of Rs 27.73 crore on Facebook for posting political ads on the platform.
On Facebook, the BJP alone spent more than Rs 4 crore - 200 per cent more than the Congress which spent about Rs 1.8 crore. In fact, the BJP's ad spend was much higher if combined with its affiliate channels like Bharat Ki Mann Ki Baat and My First Vote. Adding to that, the BJP was also active on Twitter and Google.
Hashtags like #5YearsChallenge and #MainBhiChowkidar outpaced any Twitter campaign that Congress or other political parties have tried to be part of. PM Modi also had a direct connect with people with his own social media handles. Active on Twitter since 2009, PM Modi had just 40 lakh users on May 26, 2014. Rahul Gandhi was not even there; he joined Twitter in April 2015.
Today, PM Modi has a massive Twitter following of 4.63 crore and Rahul over 88 lakh. Not just Twitter, Modi has 4.3 crore followers and Rahul 25 lakh on Facebook. The Narendra Modi app alone saw over 1 crore downloads.