Campaign Fundraising vs. Neuromarketing Debate Scores


candidate fundraising vs neuromarketing debate rating
Scoring of candidate performance in the third Democrat presidential debate using neuromarketing tests showed an 85% correlation with the third quarter fundraising totals for each candidate, according to data from MediaScience Labs.

Since I began writing about neuromarketing fourteen years ago, the field has had many skeptics. The early days of consumer neuroscience had plenty of entrepreneurs offering a range of services, often with little solid science to back up their interpretation of subject data. Even today, there are no established “best practices” or industry standards. Clients must rely on the service providers to prove their expertise with case studies and other, often confidential, data.

Against this backdrop, I enjoy finding data that shows, or seems to show, the predictive power of neuromarketing techniques. To be sure, what we see here is correlation, not necessarily causation. But one can certainly posit that better debate performances lead to more successful fundraising.

Beyond Neuro

The neuromarketing techniques used to create the scores included biometric measurements and facial expression analysis. Here’s an example of a biometric peak when candidate Kamala Harris launches a zinger at Donald Trump:

In a #neuromarketing test, candidate @KamalaHarris spikes biometric graph with #Trump zinger. #politics Click To Tweet

Another part of the score was from “voter choice behavior” using what MediaScience calls a “Dual-Stimulus Preference Test.” In this test, they gave subjects paired choices and asked them which candidate did better in the debate. They tested all possible combinations. While not commonly used by neuromarketing firms, stimulus preference assessments are used by psychologists, sometimes in an education context.

Notably, two candidates, Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro, were not included in the data set. The reason, according to MediaScience, was that they are both from the state of Texas. The voters participating in the study were also from Texas, potentially skewing the data.

For more on this general topic, see Scoring Presidential Debates with Neuromarketing Tools. It’s my conversation with MediaScience founder and CEO, Duane Varan.

A word of caution

This graph doesn’t prove that the testing process accurately “scored” the debates. One can think of any number of metrics to declare winners and losers in a given session. And, debate performance is only one of many factors that drive campaign donations. What the data does seem to do is show that testing a relatively small group of subjects may offer clues as to the reactions of the much larger population of campaign donors. What do you think?
Candidate fundraising matches up with #neuromarketing scoring of debate performance. #politics Click To Tweet

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