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How Digital Technology Will Change This Election

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With each passing election cycle, political campaigns see a growing importance in how they connect with voters through digital media. With the 2016 Presidential election under a year away, candidates amp up their online presence to appeal to one of the country's biggest demographics. 

According to the Census Bureau, the Millennial population will swell to 75.3 million by the end of 2015, overtaking baby boomers as the most populous generation in the U.S.

16993 MillennialInfoGraphicPhoto Credit: emoneyadvisor.com

Womensforum spoke with millennial expert and co-founder of the Center for Generational Kinetics Jason Dorsey about the significance of this generational shift in the United States.

"So we’re the fastest growing generation in the travel industry, we’re the fastest growing generation of consumers in America, and we’re gonna outspend baby boomers in 2017. So basically if you miss us, you’ve got no hope."

The Pew Research Center found that "digital natives"—people who grew up with new technology rather than adapting to it later in life—have stronger connections with their network of friends online than they do with established institutions. Political parties and religious affiliation are decreasingly important to young voters when deciding which candidate they'll choose.

A lot of politicians are learning this lesson the hard way. Those who have failed to cultivate a strong digital presence have had a tough time appealing to America's youngest voters through traditional political advertising on television, as Dorsey explained:

"What’s often overlooked on social media is that you can still advertise on it as a platform to reach tons of eyeballs. So as a result, people with the deepest pockets can have a more intimate and personal relationship with the generation, more so than with traditional advertisements and so forth."

As more politicians clue into the appeal of a digital audience, campaigns are projected to put a lot more emphasis on online ad spending in the near future.  

16993 OnlineSpendingPhoto Credit: Borrell

Political campaigns are expected to spend more than $1 billion on Internet ads this election, according to Wired.com. That number is expected to more than triple by the time the next presidential election rolls around. Soon political ads on our smartphones will be just as annoying and inescapable as they are on television.