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Election platforms for the 2011 election in Canada are always put online. This helps voters compare the parties and leaders based on real issues that may be close to home.

In the age of mass media, a one-size-fits-all approach was taken because quality of data available through public polling was limited – due to small sample size, and due to lag time as the information was processed. Now, we live in an age where there is a wealth of information and data available to those who know how to get it.

The Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, Bloc, and Green Party are all using Google Analytics this year to measure online activity. We think will the difference between the winners and the losers this year is the ability to use real-time intelligence about voter interest and sentiment. This is a moving target, and this is why an up-to-the-minute, intelligent message will win the day.

But how can a political party use Google Analytics to help inform messaging decisions? Here are a few suggestions for their web managers and analysts…

  1. Mass media impact analysis – Measure overall traffic volumes to the website after major announcements. Did your message resonate with Canadians? Why is the mass media coming to your site before the story breaks?
  2. Audience segmentation intelligence – Who is coming to your site, and what other websites are referring traffic to your site?
  3. Audience needs analysis – What search terms did people enter in Google that brought them to your site? Did certain issues result in greater engagement? What are people searching for on your site?
  4. Issues and content intelligence – What issues on your site have the greatest impact for each of your key audience groups?
  5. Geographical intelligence – What parts of the country care about what issues?
  6. Social media impact analysis – How is social media facilitating or disrupting your messaging, and what are people saying about you? This could be the wild card of this election, as it was for the Obama campaign, and in the election of Naheed Nenshi as mayor of Calgary (the first Muslim mayor in the heart of oil and cattle country).
  7. Loyalty and Engagement intelligence – Which visitors to the website are making donations, signing up for newsletters, or downloading toolkits for supporters?

These are the sorts of questions that parties should be looking for in their website data. It’s an ongoing survey of a portion of Canadians and the media that could prescribe changes not only in web content, but in campaign strategy as a whole.

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