How advertising on social media can help boost support for European integration

В конце 2017 года Европарламент опубликовал серию образовательных видео о европейской интеграции. Продолжать в том же духе или стоит воздержаться от последующих публикаций? На этот вопрос попытались ответить ученый из Барселонского автономного университета Энрике Эрнандес и исследователь Лиссабонского университета Робе

Enrique Hernández, Roberto Pannico, LSE

Amidst growing Euroscepticism, the European Parliament has produced a series of videos aimed at informing European citizens about the functioning and benefits of European integration. The videos were first released before Christmas 2017, as part of an online campaign that took place during the holidays. The ads were disseminated through social media platforms (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter). They were also used as part of a paid advertising campaign on YouTube. Generally, the ads targeted young social media users with low to medium levels of interest in and knowledge about the EU.

To analyse their impact on public support for European integration, in May 2018 we exposed some Spanish citizens to two of the most viewed ads of the campaign through an online survey experiment. The experiment was embedded in the “Political Attitudes Panel Dataset”, an online survey fielded once a year in Spain by the Democracy, Elections and Citizenship research group. Respondents were randomly divided into three groups. One third of respondents watched an ad from the EP campaign that emphasises the policy benefits of the EU. Another third was exposed to an ad that emphasises the reduced economic costs of the European integration process. The remaining respondents did not watch any ad and served as the control group.

The policy benefits ad begins with the question: “What do I get from the EU?”. Through infographics, the ad then presents five outcomes of EU policies that directly benefit citizens. The video indicates (through written sentences that appear on the screen) that, thanks to the EU, citizens get: (a) “the possibility to study abroad”, (b) “clean air”, (c) “safe food”, (d) “no roaming charges” (e) “a common currency”. These sentences are accompanied by animations that depict individuals enjoying the advantages of these five policy outcomes. The video can be viewed below.

The economic costs ad also begins by posing a question: “How much does the EU cost me?”. The video then highlights the low economic costs of EU membership by explaining that: (a) EU membership costs EU citizens “less than 1 euro a day” (b) “94 per cent of that [money] flows right back into the respondent’s country” (c) EU citizens do not contribute directly, but instead pay taxes in their home country which, in turn, contributes to the EU budget. This video is also accompanied by animations that complement the economic information and can be seen below.

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