The Progressive Turnout Project is one of the nation’s leading voter mobilization organizations. In 2018 we partnered with them to execute a cutting-edge digital GOTV operation in competitive congressional races across the country, targeting millions of infrequent voters.
The centerpiece of this initiative was the combination of high impact digital ad creative and precise targeting to turn sporadic voters into regular voters. In addition to the overarching mission of getting voters out to the polls, the core goals of our program included: 1) driving up message recall and intention to ensure voters knew about election day and were resolved to vote 2) surrounding voters through comprehensive digital targeting and 3) testing and sequencing content to tailor advertising to the individual.
The creative mix was strong and paired moving and authentic live action video with a carefully timed sequence of animated and static vote reminders. We didn’t rely on hunches with the creative, though. At the outset we tested different combinations of ads to determine the most optimal creative mix — the right messages, images, and storytellers. By Election Day we had created over 30 different videos of all lengths and to fit all screens and hundreds of search and display ads. Creatives were not only tailored to the platforms, but also to specific moments in the GOTV lifecycle, like when people first tune into the election, make plans to vote, or on Election Day. We also pioneered the use of interactive “find your polling place” HTML5 ads, which generated significant engagement.
To reach these infrequent voters — and burn in the message — we needed a best-in-class media buying and targeting strategy. We focused on reaching voters on the screens and devices they frequent, analyzing our matched audiences to understand their browsing habits and tailoring the targeting mix accordingly. The program included a heavy amount of premium video on all screens and devices, connected TV, local and culturally-relevant sites and apps, and an extremely strong mobile component. We also leveraged tried and true GOTV tactics, like social and search, to complement the surround sound approach. While we started with 1-1 matched audiences, we leveraged a variety of targeting options to truly reach all voters. This included geo, ethnicity, age, gender and other demo targeting based on the audience analysis we conducted.
The impact was a surround sound of GOTV ad creative leading up to Election Day that helped push Democrats in competitive races across the country to victory.
- Turn out hundreds of thousands of infrequent voters in the most competitive congressional districts in the country
- Test and refine messaging and targeting for engaging sporadic voters
- Surround voters with our tested GOTV message
- Highly tailored, cross device video and display
- Comprehensive content package focusing on voter plan-making, Election Day awareness, and vote reminders
- Cutting-edge multi-screen targeting to surround voters
- Best-in-class targeting to engage voters with highly relevant content on the channels and sites they frequent
- Helped elect 17 Democratic challengers
- Delivered 34 million targeted video views and 19 million display impressions
- Contributed to a 10.4% rise in turnout