How Print Media Can Influence Elections

How Print Media Can Influence Elections

It’s 2018 and the world has become more digital, in terms of the advancements in technology and in the way that we advertise to an audience. Due to this, print media is now overlooked and is seen as a less effective way to spread a message. But what if we told you that over £15m was spent on print during the 2015 General Election in the United Kingdom?

We’ve teamed up with Direct Letterbox Marketing (DLM), which is a specialist in door to door leaflet distribution, to find out more.

Reflecting on previous elections

To understand the grand scheme of spending, we need to look across all six main parties here in Britain. During the 2015 General Election, we found that the Conservative party spent the most money during their campaign — totalling £15.6m.

This was followed by the party’s main opposition, Labour, which spent £12.1m during the run. Liberal Democrats soon followed (£3.5m), then the UK Independence Party (£2.9m), SNP (£1.5m), and then lastly the Green Party (£1.1m).

Although some parties had bigger budgets than others, the way they found themselves spending it was entirely different — each had their own set of priorities that they thought would benefit them in the run up to 10 Downing Street.

The power of print

When looking at the budget that was focused on print, where flyers, posters and leaflets were distributed, we found that Labour spent over half of its entire budget with a £7.4m investment. This major investment highlights the importance of print media, and the impact it can have on a large audience, and shows that it is still relevant today. One reason as to why Labour spent this amount of money on print media is because 45% of people get their political news from a newspaper — with The Guardian being most popular at 16%.

But why did Labour opt for spending less on digital platforms? According to YouGov, only 15% of people reported that they received their political news from Facebook and 8% from Twitter — showing that although the world is going digital, more people trust printed information in comparison to information that is displayed digitally.

Fast forwarding two years to the General Election in 2017 — more Britons found themselves trusting television more than any other media outlet with 42%. Print media came in at 32% whilst social media influenced only 26% of people. With algorithms changing constantly, more people become distrustful towards online social media platforms, as they try to enhance the experience with what they think the user wants to see — not necessarily showing the full picture when it comes to who to vote for. Print media has a duty to be impartial, and give political parties equal space to get their points across — evidently, this isn’t the same case for social media platforms.

Printed Flyers

Aside from newspapers and magazines, printed flyers and posters can be tailored to the individual reader based on geographical location. This can help political parties immensely, especially when they’re trying to win seats and help their representative succeed across different authorities. But what are the common methods that political groups use when advertising in print?

They start by picking an issue that is close to the hearts of the residents who they will be distributing their flyers to — for example, if there was an area in which more schools were facing closure, they would capitalise on this and address it in their flyer, reassuring potential voters about what they would do to fix that issue.

If that party is not currently in control of the area they are tailoring their print media to, they will likely address the negative results their competition has inflicted on that area and how this would change if they were to be elected there.


Politics is a difficult game, but influencing an audience can be easy. There’s a huge misconception that print media is dying — but it’s not going anywhere and the influence it has on an audience is recognised by anyone working in business.

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