Ignoring On-Line ads is a Ticket to the Loser’s Circle

This past fall I called a client to let him know that his principal opponent had just made a heavy investment in on-line advertising. “That’s a waste of money,” my client responded, despite my efforts to convince him otherwise. He lost by a handful of votes.

On-line advertising is here to stay, and those who ignore it are destined for the loser’s circle. Today a guest column by Steven Moore, Managing Director of Campaign Grid, one of the nation’s leading on-line advertising companies. Steve and his partner Jordan Lieberman are some of the brightest people I know, and their company is breaking new ground every day.


Six Reasons to Start Using Digital Advertising on Your Next Campaign

By Steven Moore, Managing Director, CampaignGrid

The campaign world is going digital, because voters are increasingly consuming information digitally. You don’t want to be left behind. Here are six reasons to add a digital arrow to your campaign quiver.

1) A majority of voters no longer watch broadcast TV.

A February 2014 survey sponsored by Google and conducted jointly by Public Opinion Strategies and Global Strategy Group showed that less than half of voters say broadcast TV is their primary means of consuming video. Other than live sports, 30% of voters said they did not watch live TV in the preceding week.

If you are spending all your money on broadcast TV and nothing on digital, you are not communicating with a significant portion of the electorate.

2) Those who vote most are online.

Older Americans are among the most likely to vote, and in this last election, seniors were among the fastest growing demographic online.

A recent Pew Internet poll showed that 59% of Americans over the age of 65 currently use the Internet. That number is even higher among demographics more likely to vote. Nearly 80% of American seniors with household incomes of more than $30,000 annually are online. Among college educated seniors, that number is 87%.

What are seniors doing online? Social networking is among the most popular pastimes for Internet surfing seniors. Nearly half of seniors who use the Internet report using social networking sites.

Make sure you are in their newsfeed with your candidate’s message.

3) Digital advertising is highly targetable.

You can now target online any demographic you are targeting with conventional forms of voter contact.

If your polling shows that independent Hispanic women between the ages of 45 and 65 who voted in four of the last four general elections are most receptive to your candidate’s message, we can reach that group online.

Have you ever gone to REI.com, looked at a pair of hiking boots then noticed that pair of hiking boots following you around the Internet no matter which website you happened to go to? You can target your voters in exactly the same fashion.

However, make sure that your digital ad vendor is using data-driven advertising. If your vendor does not have data backing up the buy, then you are doing the digital equivalent of sending out a piece of mail to everyone who has a mailbox.

Or worse, your vendor may be selling you “remnant advertising.” Scroll down to the bottom of your local newspaper’s website. See the ad on the bottom of the page? That is not where you want your ad dollars going.

If your vendor is selling you advertising cheap, there is a reason.

4) Digital advertising complements and amplifies conventional forms of voter outreach.

CampaignGrid research shows that adding online ads to mail is a powerful combination. In the 2014 Arkansas primary, we conducted an experiment. We divided voters into three groups for a GOTV effort – a control group with which we did not communicate, a group that received mail only and a group that received mail and CampaignGrid’s data driven online ads. The message was “What if your friends in Arkansas knew you did not vote in the May 20 election?”

The mail-only group had an 8% lift in turnout over the control group, while the mail + online group showed a 14% increase in turnout.

The multi-channel amplification effect is apparent within digital advertising as well. An aggregation of analyses for several thousand Audience Partners campaigns shows the interaction rate for display and mobile is 126% that of display alone. The interaction rate for display, mobile and video combined is 281% that of display only.

Don’t stop mail. Start digital.

5) Digital advertising is very affordable.

You can have a big impact for not a lot of money. For the price of an average piece of mail, you can show a voter a digital ad about 36 times. Make no mistake, a piece of mail is a very rich impression, but it is only one impression, and you don’t know if the person who picked it up from the mailbox is the voter, her husband or her teenage son.

CampaignGrid allows you to target voters, individually on their desktops, tablets or mobile devices. And if a voter sees your candidate’s ad 36 times over the course of a week, that is going to get their attention.

The 2015 cycle is going to see a lot of low-budget municipal elections. A perfect time to see just how cost-effective digital advertising can be.

6) Digital advertising is easy.

While seniors are rapidly joining the online community, among the 41% who are not yet online, three quarters said they felt they would need assistance from someone else in getting online.

Coincidentally, this sentiment mirrors CampaignGrid’s experience among political consultants.

The good news for campaign professionals not currently online, CampaignGrid has made it very easy to learn how to target voters on the Internet.

CampaignGrid Direct is a self-serve platform that allows even the smallest campaigns to target voters with the same precision as a multi-million dollar super PAC.

Go to the site. Check it out. With CampaignGrid Direct, incorporating online ads into your next campaign is slightly more complex than buying something on Amazon.

Steven Moore is Managing Director at CampaignGrid, and has been a user of their services since 2007. In addition to serving for 7 1/2 years as chief of staff to a Member of House Leadership, Moore has fought the resurgence of communism in Eastern Europe in the nineties, debated the finer (and more blunt) points of US foreign policy with Islamic extremists in Indonesia and, in Iraq, adapted public opinion research techniques for use in free fire zones. He can be reached via email [email protected] or at 202.544.5471.

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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