The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Russmann: Voter Targeting via the Web – A Comparative Structural Analysis of Austrian and German Party Websites

Paper presenter: 
Russmann, U., University of Innsbruck, Austria

The growth of parties’ activities on the Web over the last decade has lead to a more sophisticated use of websites and Web campaigns are more and more embedded in a general political marketing strategy. This study focuses on the question, to what extent political parties use the Internet to attract different target groups. The online audience can be seen as one mass or as carefully defined target segments as especially voters differ concerning aspects like party ties, age or gender. This paper analyses the occurrence of online targeting on political parties websites during the most recent Austrian and German National Elections (2008/2009). Though this study found that on a general level the similarities between parties, also in the country comparison, are more striking than the differences, it also identifies that on a more specific level catch-all parties and client parties apply different targeting patterns. Client parties address the general public just as much as different target groups; whereas catch-all parties tailor their websites to a greater extent to specific target segments.

campaigns, targeting, party websites, comparative analysis
Uta Russmann