The campaign for Ontario Premier was a divided one and Huffington Post Canada covered it from start to finish. It was an election that was supposed to be Tim Hudak’s to lose. Everyone was surprised when Kathleen Wynne defied all predictions to become the first female Premier of Ontario.
It was especially surprising because she didn’t seem to fare well in the big election debate.
Huffington Post Canada created a perfectly timed poll to find out who their readers thought won the debate. Embedded on the homepage, it received over 20,000 votes and clearly showed their favorite.
Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Created quickly with their Wedgies account, they added an image relevant to the question and used the custom options to match the poll with their brand.They easily chose the size of the embed, modified the information displayed, and changed the alignment to fit with the format of the article. After that, they used the auto-generated embed code to drop the poll into the article and published it to the front page.
Votes started pouring in right away, the totals climbing visibly in real time. No browser refresh required.
Readers thought Andrea Horwath won the debate by just over 7,000 votes with 60% of the total 20,050 votes.
Social sharing buttons in the poll generated over 400 incremental shares to social media, totaling nearly 600 shares for the article.
Every click through these social shares drove traffic back to the Huffington Post article, adding to the page views and the number of votes on the poll.
The Election Outcome
Premier Kathleen Wynne took a lashing in the debate on $1.1 billion dollars of money wasted by her Liberal party that was driving up electricity costs across the province.
This issue made it easy for her opponents to capitalize on the debate, and was reflected in the results of this poll, but it wasn’t enough to secure the election for either of them.
Covering Your Elections
Polls and elections were made for each other. Now you have the power to pull in opinions through all of your publication’s channels—digital publishing, social media, and even on-air SMS polls.
While this poll only represented the opinion of Huffington Post Canada readers, it gave the publication vital insight into their readership, generated significant engagement, and brought in more pageviews.
Be prepared to consider the bias of your readers and hesitate to make IRL predictions from social poll results, but take advantage of modern tools to engage and learn from your audience.
It’s easy to do. Try creating and embedding a poll quickly right here.
Many people choose to use 2 cellphones to separate work from their personal life. Others still don’t feel like dealing with the hassle of checking multiple devices. The Wall Street Journal wrote a story on the subject and realized they could learn something useful about this split between their readers.
They created a wedgies.com poll to ask how many cellphones people use, embedded it in a new story, published the article, and shared it on Twitter.
WSJ increased engagement with their readers by polling them and collected over 1,000 votes on their story. They also found out that some readers don’t even use a cellphone, while others use more than two.
The Wedgies Poll
They used a simple question with straightforward answers, and an image that connected with their poll. This is a great example of a poll that will work well.
The Article Embed
WSJ copied the auto-generated HTML embed code for the poll and pasted it into their new story. When you create a wedgie, you have options to customize what your poll will look like when it’s embedded. You do things like change the size and decide whether or not to display the results for the poll first. It’s really easy.
Just because the poll was embedded in an article doesn’t mean it’s not easy to share. WSJ tweeted out the poll and quickly and had over 300 of their followers engage through retweets, favorites and comments. Their readers also shared the poll over 150 times from the article itself, using the sharing buttons on the poll.
Over 1,000 votes later, The Wall Street Journal confirmed that a significant portion of their business readers had two phones and many still only use one. What was really interesting were the anomalous 2 percent who use 0 cell phones and the 5 percent who use more than 2 phones.
That 7 percent could easily make for a new and fascinating story about the people who don’t use cell phones in 2014, or who are overexposed to cell phones through their work.
Try It Out
WSJ pulled more pageviews and social shares out of a successful story and learned about their readers all at once.
You can easily do the same by creating a poll here. Let us know if you have any questions. We’re always happy to help.
Last week, LinkedIn announced that it will discontinue polls in groups, starting May 15th. Most people don’t think it’s a big deal because they never use LinkedIn polls, but it brings up an interesting question about polling.
Why do companies like LinkedIn and Facebook abandon a tool that can provide publishers, brands and individuals with feedback, engagement, and additional traffic?
The short answer is, “An old-school polling solution isolated to one channel like LinkedIn or Facebook just doesn’t get results on today’s social, real-time web. Pouring resources into it wouldn’t have made sense for them.” says Jimmy Jacobson, CTO of wedgies.com.
Here are the two main reasons why companies like LinkedIn abandon polling features:
Polls limited to one channel aren’t successful because people aren’t limited to one channel. As social networks have grown exponentially, creating vast feedback channels ripe for polling, companies like LinkedIn are fighting to keep your attention. In their mind, it doesn’t make sense to develop a technology that requires input from competing channels to be effective.
User Experience Development
User experience is key to engagement and participation in a poll. Ugly radio buttons and complicated interfaces that ignore the human need to engage with visual content are rampant. Polls also need to be created at internet speed. No one has time to waste with clunky interfaces. It takes dedicated resources to create a polling solution that matches the visual brand and technical requirements of a large organization across desktop and mobile. Dedicated resources cost money.
But LinkedIn’s decision doesn’t mean polls don’t work. It just means they’re not worth developing for only one channel.
Publishers, brands and individuals don’t need to lose out on the power of polls to gather feedback, trigger social engagement, and drive traffic across all of their channels because of that.
Wedgies has put the design and development time into hauling the technology out of the 90’s and put multi-channel polling into the hands of anyone who wants to wield it. Tech-savvy brands like Engadget, Pantene, USAToday, The Next Web, The Weather Channel, and many more are engaging millions with their polls.
Example Engadget Poll
Wedgies provides a real-time, mobile-friendly polling platform that collects votes from all channels, even SMS, in one place so you can actually use the results. They take less than 60 seconds to create, you can easily embed them in articles, and share them on tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook with one click. Brands who embed them in articles and share their poll across social networks have even seen 10-20% lifts in traffic compared to articles without polls. Not to mention all the likes, shares, retweets, favorites, and reblogs that create the traffic.
“Despite seeming simple, building a fun and engaging polling platform is really hard.” says Jimmy Jacobson.
LinkedIn and other companies abandon native polls because it doesn’t make sense for them to dedicate resources to developing a polling platform for a single channel that won’t meet the needs of users.