1: The Challenge
Our challenge was to elect beat an incumbent Democratic Senator in America’s most closely contested swing state during a challenging mid-term environment. Florida has a diverse population spread across 10 major media markets, dramatically increasing the target audiences for the campaign.
We spent nearly $6.3 million on digital over 7 months to reach all of the target audiences.
This encompassed all persuasion, fundraising, list growth and GOTV digital advertising. We worked with traditional media buyers to create a cohesive campaign with a holistic approach targeting vast audiences and locations. We placed cross-channel media buys during large events like the World Cup, college football, baseball playoffs and the World Series. We also examined cross-channel effective CPMs to best reach expensive audiences and be visible on in-demand content.
In the middle of the campaign, Hurricane Michael knocked out power and changed life patterns in Republican stronghold areas, forcing us to get to creative in our methods of advertising. We reached affected areas for weeks after the storm with Gas Station TV, list matching, and mobile ads with GOTV messaging.
2: Strategy and Tactics
Our main goal was to reach each targeted audience as effectively and efficiently as possible.
We identified our primary audiences as cord cutters, suburban women, Hispanics, and Independent voters.
For cord cuters, we utilized OTT products, YouTube’s affinity audiences, Hulu, Pandora and Spotify. We selected ads to give voters the full message they were missing on TV.
We delivered nearly 13 million impressions specifically targeting cord cutters throughout the campaign.
For suburban women, we compiled a list of zips and applied behavioral targeting to media buys and selected creatives to resonate with them. We purchased pre-roll inventory on sites that index highly with suburban women, including allrecipes.com, Magnolia.com and RealSimple.com, and delivered over 4.4 million impressions. Additionally, we used behavioral and demographic targeting to reach this audience on Facebook, YouTube, and news sites.
We delivered a total of 16.8 million video impressions to this audience.
We targeted Hispanics using country of origin, demographic, behavioral, language and list matching. We also placed ads on premium content, such as the NFL and World Cup. We worked with Univision, Telemundo, Pandora, Facebook, YouTube, Hulu, and a variety of DSPs.
We delivered over 35 million video & display impressions from April – November to reach this audience.
We delivered 224,300,375 targeted digital impressions throughout the course of the campaign, yielding 122,979,581 completed views, helping Rick Scott beat the midterm trend and defeat a three-time incumbent Senator.
We utilized Google’s post campaign brand-lift study for reserve YouTube buys, and Max Lift bidding with specific audiences and creative within the AdWords platform to shift perception. It worked. We determined that the Google campaign resulted in 6,200 potential voters demonstrating increased consideration to vote for Scott. In the post campaign brand-lift study, we had a 99% relative lift and surpassed nearly all of Google’s benchmarks for shifting lift. Our shift percentages were particularly high among A45-66+ and with Men. For our cord cutters campaign in August, we used Google’s Max Lift product to shift over 4,000 into considering for Scott, at a $1.20 cost-per-shifted user. We also saw a 21% decrease in CPM between Digital and Television advertising in the Tampa & Orlando DMAs.
In a post-election survey, we concluded that Republican Rick Scott won 48% of the Hispanic vote. Creative during the campaign was designed to reach Cubans, Puerto Ricans and all Hispanics with slightly different messaging. On questions of job approval and image, Rick Scott topped Bill Nelson by 61% and 56% respectively.
While our main focus was persuasion and GOTV advertising, a portion of ads were dedicated to fundraising. The campaign invested heavily in search, prioritized its use, and realized its effectiveness not only in driving donations, but in GOTV and research. We raised over $335k in gross ad donations.