Just what is data-driven campaigning? A systematic review

Katharine Dommett, Andrew Barclay, Rachel Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Discussions of data-driven campaigning have gained increased prominence in recent years. Often associated with the practices of Cambridge Analytica and linked to debates about the health of modern democracy, scholars have devoted considerable attention to the rise of data-driven politics. However, most studies to date have focused solely on practice in the US, and few scholars have made efforts to define the precise meaning of ‘data-driven campaigning’. With growing recognition that data-driven campaigning can take different forms dependent on context and available resource, new questions have emerged as to exactly what features are indicative of this phenomena. In this piece we systematically review existing discussions of data-driven campaigning to unpack the components of this idea. Identifying areas of convergence and divergence in existing discussions of ‘data’, ‘driven’, and ‘campaigning’, we classify existing debate to highlight integral features and variable practices. This article accordingly provides the first comprehensive definition of data-driven campaigning, and aims to facilitate international study of this activity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalInformation, Communication and Society
Issue number1
Early online date11 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • Systematic review
  • data-driven campaigns
  • definition
  • elections
  • political campaigning


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