Political Campaigns: The Art and Science of Reaching Voters

Marketing Innovation

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Political Campaigns: The Art and Science of Reaching Voters

Marketing Innovation

For political campaigns, the ultimate conversion is getting a vote. In business it’s getting a sale. Aside from this, the digital marketing strategies that work for voters and consumers have a lot in common.

In a recent panel discussion, political advertising leaders discussed how they are increasingly using digital channels in their outreach efforts. Bringing in more data and going digital are perhaps some of the most significant trends over the last several years.  But what else is taking place in political marketing, and how will these developments shape the 2016 election?

More accurate, people-based targeting

When political entities first started running digital campaigns, they relied on their marketing and advertising partners not only for their expertise, but also for the data needed to more accurately reach voters. Now that it’s possible to activate first-party data for use in digital marketing platforms, campaigns can reach smaller, more highly targeted audiences.

“The rise of data, especially onboarded data that LiveRamp and others are offering, have led us to the full promise of individual-level marketing, enabling us to move to a “people” rather than “places” approach,” said Michael Schneider, Director of Product Development, for Bully Pulpit Interactive.

More cross-channel campaigns

Revolution Messaging, also on the panel, recently ran a campaign for a large state education association to support and elect candidates who favor educational funding goals. The association could reach members with emails and phone calls, but wanted to connect through digital channels as well.  

Working with LiveRamp, first-party member records were onboarded into several marketing platforms for display and video targeting across desktops and mobile devices. The primary and gubernatorial election results were overwhelmingly positive:

  • 86% of the 275 endorsed candidates supporting education won in the primaries
  • 71% of the endorsed candidates won in the general election

Read the Revolution Messaging case study.

More dynamic creative and cross-device campaigns

“Dynamic creative is one of the most important emerging tools for political campaigns,” said Eden Joyner, VP Media Strategy, Revolution Messaging. “We also recommend utilizing as many devices as possible, even with video. It’s now possible to utilize dynamic pre-roll to deliver very specific messaging to very small groups. The time has come to to invest in this kind of creative with personalized cross-device targeting.”

More use of emerging channels, like addressable TV

TV is changing with the emergence of addressable TV, which allows households to view different ads while watching the same show. As Michael Palmer, President of i360 explains: ‘Digital is a new tool over the last decade or so, which allows us to do what we’ve been doing for years: targeting individuals and households offline through grassroots efforts.  And now we’re able to target those same people online and in the addressable TV space.”

As for linear TV, Michael Beach, CoFounder of Targeted Victory says: “People-based data will inform audience-based advertising on linear TV. Set-top box data is playing a larger role in targeting. Both will inform normal TV buying and optimizing.”  –

To hear more strategies for political campaigns check out the panel video from RampUp 2015.