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INNOVATION IN ONLINE ADVERTISING Audience Building & Boosting Turnout Through Geo-Targeted Online Advertising In the 2018 Midterm Election, our client…


Audience Building & Boosting Turnout Through Geo-Targeted Online Advertising
In the 2018 Midterm Election, our client wanted to activate low propensity voters that were active churchgoers within a specific denomination in five targeted U.S. Senate states.

While consumer data and predictive modeling can measure how likely a voter is to be an active church attendee, our client was insistent that we narrow the audience to just those voters who had been observed (not modeled) actively attending religious services. To build this audience, we utilized our data management platform and mobile device data to geofence only churches of that denomination across all five states over 60 days.

Every mobile device that showed up at least twice at these churches was flagged and tracked backed to a likely home address. Based on that information we narrowed the target audience to just low propensity (voted in 2016 but not 2014) voter households who had been actively seen at these churches and targeted them with online advertising (primarily mobile in-app ads) that would push these voters to turn out and show up based on “faith-based issues.”

After receiving the 2018 voter history data, we compared our treatment group to a similar group of voters who received no advertising from us.

The delta in turnout was over 12% in increased turnout for our treatment group.

Most voter turnout programs are based on “conventional wisdom” and “previous practice.” Up to this point, there has been very little public information about scientifically tested turnout programs based on online, mobile in-app advertising.

We believe that our narrow focus on faith-based voters and their low turnout propensity gave us a high degree of success in boosting turnout. This would not have been capable without utilizing our data management platform, mobile device data and geofencing and geotargeting technology to create an audience and deliver highly targeted online ads.

Academics and researchers have conducted hundreds of tests on voter turnout using everything from volunteer door knocks, robocalls, and direct mail. Traditional turnout methods do not see a net lift greater than 6%- 8%.

If these results can continue to be scaled, we believe this innovation will have a tremendous effect on the ability of campaigns to geographically target voters and boost turnout through online advertising in 2020.


Securing Ohio’s Future Data-Driven Online Voter Contact Strategy
2018 saw the highest turnout in a mid-term election since 1914. 2018 also saw Democrats flip seven governors’ seats. We saw Democrats win the governorships in three states that President Trump won in 2016. Then there was Ohio.

The Great Lakes region’s only winning gubernatorial effort in 2018 was no walk in the park, but we were proud to be a part of the team that found the pathway to victory and prevented Ohio from becoming the eighth state Democrats flipped and the fourth Trump state to go to Democrats.

Data and Analytical Insights
The first step was to take the results of a predictive modeling project conducted by Causeway Solutions that showed Mike DeWine running ahead of Richard Cordray at 34% to 28% with 34% undecided and design an omni-channel turnout strategy that focused on motivating a key audience of voters through digital advertising, direct mail, and field tactics.

Who Were These Undecided Voters? 
They weren’t “True Swing.” They were what we call “Republican Disengagers” – Republicans who had moved away from the party in both support and enthusiasm to vote in the 2018 gubernatorial election. These voters were crucial to Mike DeWine’s path to 51% and victory, but the modeling told us that traditional persuasion methods weren’t going to work.

The Plan
We knew that not all of these “Republican Disengagers” were the same. They could be divided into two primary subsets. The first we defined as the group that needed to be reinforced. At over one million voters, this was a significant audience that needed to be motivated to turn out. We saw, though, that “this is the way we’ve always done it” GOTV efforts weren’t going to be enough. These voters had moved away from their traditional support of Republican candidates but had not gone so far as to be Democratic voters. They were more apt to just not engage at all, and we needed more than a simple turnout message to motivate them.

The second group was a smaller universe of nearly a quarter of a million voters who were no longer “in the bank” voters. Instead, we needed to “defend” and move this audience to fully commit to supporting DeWine and voting in the election.

We needed to dare these voters to vote for the Democrat candidate Cordray through a cross- screen voter contact program since data showed that over 30% of these “Disengagers” were NOT frequent viewers of television.

This was why Majority Strategies, utilizing the predictive modeling and audiences provided by Causeway Solutions, designed and implemented an omni- channel voter contact strategy on behalf of Secure Ohio’s Future that focused heavily on online digital advertising (YouTube, Facebook, Google, Display Ads, and Remarketing) targeting this GOP Disengager audience to push now Gov. DeWine to 51%.

The investment in targeted, online advertising by Securing Ohio’s Future resulted in over 49.1 million digital impressions and over 11.3 million video views all focused on the GOP Disengager audience – an essential voting block to Mike DeWine reaching his vote goal.

As a result of these targeted ads, in the final weeks, tracking showed that the Democrat candidate’s support had leveled out while Mike DeWine’s support rose and those “disengagers” began to turn back to the Republican candidate and increase their likelihood of turning out. An additional 206,858 DeWine votes were generated amongst target voters.

Who were these voters? There were over 93,000 “disengagers” who returned to their support of DeWine and cast a ballot. There were another 21,000 voters generated from turnout efforts. In the final days of the campaign – a late online advertising campaign focused on absentee chase resulted in an additional nearly 92,000 votes.

Those 206,858 votes were key. Governor DeWine’s margin of victory? Just over 164,000 votes.

The Takeaways
Data and analytical insights were the keys to developing an omni- channel voter contact program that delivered the right message at the right time to the right voters to motivate them to take action and cast a ballot for Governor Mike DeWine. These results would not have been possible without a highly targeted online advertising campaign designed to maximize Securing Ohio’s Future’s resources.

Had we not identified this universe of voters …

Had we not correctly identified this universe of voters as not “True Swing” …

Had we not identified the right platform to motivate this audience on…

Had the entire team not put in the hard work and unwavering effort …

Ohio may very well have become the 4th Trump state and the 8th gubernatorial seat Democrats flipped in 2018. But it didn’t, thanks to the hard work, planning, and execution by the DeWine team.

We want to thank the entire DeWine team for trusting us and including us in their campaign.

Ready to learn more? Contact our team of national and state strategists today.