The Final Push: Reaching the Right Voters with Online Ads
In the days and weeks leading up to November, campaigns must shift their focus from persuasion to targeted outreach and turn out. As with every aspect of the 2012 campaign season, online advertising will play a larger role in mobilization and getting out the vote than ever before.
Reaching Likely Voters
TV, though still a powerful channel, is no longer the best way to reach many likely voters. According to an August SAY Media survey, only 29% of survey respondents said they had watched live TV within the last week. Additionally, 40% of likely voters indicated that they prefer to consume video content by means other than live TV, such as DVR or online video streaming sites like Hulu. Live TV only accounts for about half of the twenty hours of video this group consumes per week.
The inevitable TV blitz will come as election season draws to a close, and it can be expected to drive some measure of turnout. Yet, as surveys like SAY Media’s demonstrate, there is a significant percentage of voters who simply cannot be reached via live TV. Coupling television ads with digital outreach is a smart way to cover your bases and help ensure you are able to stay in front of everyone.
In addition to being the only way to reach some voters, reaching people while they’re browsing online could also be the ideal time. Nearly a third of respondents in a recent Burst Media survey go online to find political information. This data suggests that not only can online advertising help you reach the right voters, it can help you reach them at the right time, namely while they’re engaged in the political process. Good timing coupled with the right messaging can help encourage engagement and ultimately, mobilization.
Reaching the Right Voters
Digital advertising also provides opportunities to ensure you’re only spending your campaign dollars on the right audience, so you can avoid wasting impressions on people who are likely to be affiliated with the opposing party or who aren’t eligible to vote in your district. Online ad targeting can help you guarantee you will reach the right people. Whether you target by prior actions, like whether someone has been to your site recently, or target based on voter-file data or emails you’ve collected yourself, targeted ads can help you get the best outcomes for your budget.
Social advertising can be effective, and the interest-based targeting available through both Facebook and Twitter is a cost effective way to reach likely voters and target by their particular interests.
Depending on the demographic makeup (with age being a particularly important factor here), social ads may or may not be a particularly effective form of outreach. Regardless of the demographic makeup of your ideal voters, banner ads can help you reach them wherever they go online.
Additionally, for smaller or local campaigns, banner ads are one of the only ways for to target ads to likely, eligible voters and engage with the people who can fundamentally change the outcome of the election.
As campaigns engage in the final push before election season, online advertising will play a significant role in helping campaigns turn out the vote.