Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Social Sciences - Berlin Graduate School of Social Science

Christina Gahn

Christina Gahn

BGSS Generation 2020



On target – The success and use of targeting issue messages in election campaigns. 


Prof. Thomas M. Meyer, Prof. Heike Klüver


The use of targeting as a party strategy in electoral campaigns has risen over the last years. Yet, most studies on targeting focus on the process of contacting specific target groups without taking the tailoring of the content of the messages designed for these target groups into account. Also, studies on the success of targeting yield mixed results and mostly focus on the US. Hence, I want to study how targeting drives the success of issue messages of political parties (demand side) and how and on which issues parties use targeting as a campaign strategy (supply side) in multi-party democracies in Europe. For the demand side of the thesis, I will use both observational and experimental methods. I will conduct a factorial survey experiment measuring the success of different campaign messages. In addition, I will analyse which targeting strategies are most successful on social media, using user interactions as proxy for campaign success. For the supply side, I want to investigate parties’ issue targeting strategies using the Facebook Ad library. 

Recent Publications

Does social media enhance party responsiveness? How user engagement shapes parties’ issue attention on Facebook


AUTNES Content Analysis of Party Press Releases: Cumulative File (SUF edition)


AUTNES Content Analysis of Party Manifestos: Cumulative File (SUF edition)