Will digital campaigning help win the 2016 elections?

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L-R: Nate Lubin and Benjy Messner

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A strong digital campaign helped President Barack Obama win the U.S. elections in 2008 and 2012 according to experts. But will a similar digital push help any of the local candidates in the 2016 elections?

On Monday (November 23), Nate Lubin, former White House digital director, and Benjy Messner, a data and analytics professional, sat down with CNN Philippines' chief correspondent Pia Hontiveros on Network News to discuss how much a candidate can be helped by a strong digital campaign.

According to Lubin, Obama's 2012 campaign differed greatly from how it was run in 2008.

He said: "In 2008, it was telling the narrative of then-Sen. Barack Obama's run. It sort of expanded over time. In 2012, it became a lot more institutionalized and part of the organization of the campaign. It sort of fed into the overall way the campaign was run."

Lubin added that the digital factor that was so present in the Obama campaign eventually carried on over into the White House, however it was not an overnight change.

He said, "The White House has a lot of institutional history behind it and traditions that are harder to break. It has been a process over the course of seven years and there has been an improvement over time."

Digital media had been a great help in reaching out to millenials, said Messner.

He said that one thing that Obama did very well was to connect a very strong message from a very strong candidate to millenials.

"Meeting them where they were," he said, referring to different social media platforms where millenials were most active.

When asked if the same strategy could be used locally, and if a president could be elected through digital campaigning, Lubin said, "Well you can't do it by itself, but it can be part of the process."

According to Lubin, the candidate is the key, but his or her message has to be carried to the people.

"Mobile is increasingly the core part of doing that," he said.

Converting social media engagement to real-life engagement was also a key factor in the Obama campaign.

Messner said part of the success of the Obama campaign was taking online activists and turning them into offline activists.

And would it be possible to turn a bad product into a good candidate via digital campaigning?

Messner answered, yes.

"The most important thing is a good candidate, but these tactics are about getting a good message out even if the candidate is not the strongest campaigner. If the message is good, then these tactics will help it connect."