The 5 Most Tweetable Moments from CampaignTech East (#CTEast)

Last week, Team Intermarkets had the pleasure of attending CampaignTech East, an event thrown by Campaigns & Elections Magazine for political consultants, grassroots organizers, and digital marketers to share the newest and best digital tips and tricks. While we’re sure the experience differed based on your session schedule, this was our team’s cumulative takeaway—we’d love to hear yours in the comments section!

There are no shortcuts to success.

“Think of something really awesome. Test it in a small market. And then roll it out. And if you don’t want to do step one and two … find something else to do with your day.”
@bretjacobsen
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Bret Jacobsen said this in a panel called “Mobile Apps as Game Changers,” but the principle is universally true. The first step to something great is actually thinking of something great. Don’t just send out an email because an email needs to go out this week—take the time to sit down, think it through, and come up with something that your target audience actually wants to read. Next, TEST IT! Our marketing department really can’t say enough about the value of testing everything. There are some great articles out there about best practices for any marketing or advertising strategy you can think of—but truthfully, nothing beats your own data on your own audience. Test, test, test!

Great customer service never goes out of style.

“What do my clients value? Response time. Availability. Honesty. And loyalty.”
@tracyrusso
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The general session, “The Digital Consultant as Entrepreneur,” was hosted by DCI Group’s Julie Germanny, who interviewed experts in the field (over mimosas, we might add). This fun group dropped plenty of insights, but we think the focus on customer service was the thread that tied it all back together. Yes, you need to be the best at what you do. Yes, you need to be able to provide all the technological bells and whistles. But, at the end of the day, what your client needs most from you is for you to be reliable. Be their go-to person! Value quick response times and open availability. Be honest and loyal with everyone you meet along the way. At Intermarkets, we have a cultural “code” called POETIC that stands for Positive, Optimistic, Enthusiastic, Tenacious, Innovative, and Committed. Our team is great at what they do, but we believe that it’s the way we conduct business that really sets us apart.

The data doesn’t lie.

“Do audience targeting—not content judging!”
@cld276
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What a great point! This nugget came from cir.cl INC’s CEO Carol Davidsen in the session “What Your Smart TV Knows About You.” She pointed out that, often, campaigns are surprised by what TV shows are pulling their target audience. For instance, she pointed out, most campaigns aren’t going to come to a TV executive and ask to advertise during Honey Boo Boo. But the data doesn’t lie. If that’s where your swing voter is—and especially if that’s where your opponents aren’t—then that’s where you should be. Psst, by the way…the same goes for online advertising!

Target your audience AND your message.

“You can have the best targeting in the world but get minimal results if your message doesn’t resonate.”
@Joel_DC
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Good news out of this panel—”Social media targeting has come of age!” Facebook’s own Joel Cohen was joined by other digital campaign strategists, including Jenna Golden from Twitter, to talk trends in tailored audiences on social media. On Twitter, for instance, you can now bid on opponents’ keywords, target audiences (although the match rate is still low), and pin your best tweets to the top of your feed for better branding. The strategists also dropped some pointers on making the most of 140 characters (“Be specific” and “Keep it simple”). But perhaps the best creative advice came out of Joel Cohen, who pointed out that, without a sticky, targeted message, all that great targeting technology might just be for naught. Don’t forget to optimize your message!

Digital tools are just that—tools.

“Don’t put a partisan lens on it. If we’re all using digital, then we all win!”
@spedwybabs
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Indigo Strategies’ Beth Becker really brought the spirit of the conference home with this one. With campaign strategists and digital consultants from both sides of the aisle, CampaignTech East proved to be an invaluable opportunity to swap stories, learn about trending technologies, and remember that in the end, everyone’s goal is the same—a better and more connected America. The truth is, digital campaigning tools are just that—tools—and the magic is really in how you use them to take your cause to victory.

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So tell us, fellow CampaignTechers…what was YOUR most “tweetable” moment? 

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We talked last week about the first step to any voter targeting campaign—wrangling the data! Using a data management platform to match online “cookies” to real-life voters (and their voter histories) is paramount to a successful targeting campaign.

This week, we’re talking about how to target your audience once you’ve found it—and what insights there are to gain along the way.

1. Be Specific

People are sometimes creeped out surprised by how detailed targeting can be. The truth is, there are mountains of data being collected, and data mining allows us to target by a lot of different factors! Using the Electoral roll, voter ID database, and the data that websites themselves can collect, you can target by…

  • Party affiliation
  • Propensity to vote
  • Charitable or political contribution history
  • Geographic location
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Education level
  • Income

Basically—you name it, we can probably target it.

2. But not TOO specific.

Targeting is important, but so is scale! A rookie targeting mistake is to get TOO granular with your audience segmentations and end up messaging an audience of ten. Make your online advertising or email marketing campaign count! If your campaign is only targeting 35-year-old bankers who love dogs and hate grilled cheese sandwiches, you’re not going to be getting the scale your campaign needs to succeed. Especially since NO ONE hates grilled cheese sandwiches. Don’t target to an audience of zero!

3. Define your goals.

Before even embarking on a targeting campaign, be honest with yourself about what your movement is looking to gain. Are you looking to raise funds quickly? Build an opt-in email list? Motivate your supporters to go out and vote? Knowing what you want is crucial to defining your key performance indicators (KPIs), which are the best method to measure (and subsequently achieve) a high return on investment (ROI). Like they say, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. The reverse is true too—decide where you want to go, and the road to get there becomes more clear.

4. Start early!

This ClickZ article on the targeting puts it this way: “Plant your targeting garden long before you get hungry.” Like we discussed in this blog post on using DMPs, listening to your audience is an important part of any targeting strategy. We’ve often gotten halfway into a campaign only to realize that part of our target audience is clicking and converting at a much higher rate than the other half. Realizing that early on allows you to quickly optimize your campaign to target your most engaged audience. Optimization helps you save money and reach your goals faster—who doesn’t need that?

5. Invest in voter targeting.

This may seem like the “duh” part of this list—after all, you’re reading this article, aren’t you?—but it’s actually important to keep in mind that just because the cost of online advertising may be slightly higher with targeting, doesn’t mean you’re not getting your money’s worth.

Take, for example, a campaign we at Intermarkets did to target Christian youth in Arizona through online advertising. The goal of the campaign was to identify potential supporters for local candidates whose platforms were based on Christian values.

We ran two placements: one ran untargeted ads on Christian music and lifestyle websites, while the other targeted ads to identified Christians or people interested in Christian music across the web.

While the targeted placement cost per milli (CPM) was 9% more than the direct placements, the targeted ads garnered a 66% better clickthrough rate (CTR), achieving significant returns for the grassroots organization.

Have you found success with voter targeting?

We’d love to hear what your personal experience has been with targeting your online advertising in the comments section below. Or, if you’d like to get started with voter targeting, but aren’t sure which road to take, contact one of our helpful representatives, and we’d be happy to help you out.

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The Honey Badger’s Guide to Winning

ICYMI: This part three of our 2014 Political Series. Don’t miss part one and part two!

There’s a famous quote in advertising: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” As an industry, we’re closer than ever before to solving this age-old problem. With mountains of digital data at our disposal, we can finally know “which half” is which—and optimize the campaign to eliminate waste and increase ROI.

The real challenge, now, is how to tame that mountain of data.

What is a DMP anyway?

First, what is a DMP? A Data Management Platform (DMP) is simply a piece of software that collects, organizes, and stores data in a way that allows users to draw useful insights and take meaningful actions. DMPs also work hand-in-hand with Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) to intelligently target ads to voter segments.

Since DMPs have the ability to match offline and online data, they are the perfect solution to the political campaign’s biggest challenge: integrating data across channels for cohesive messaging.

Matchmaking Made Simple

There are three main types of offline-online “matches” used in campaigns:

1. True 1:1 Match

This is the best way to ensure that you’ve found the exact online persona that you’re looking for. This match is made when all the data points match up with the online profile. Because of the high level of specificity, a 1:1 match search will generally be about 30-40% successful.

2. “Soft” Match

Because information found offline and online can sometimes differ even for the same person, a number of match campaigns will instead rely on “soft” matches. Basically, rather than five of five data points matching up exactly, a “soft” match will line up along three or four of the desired data points. The idea is the the online persona is highly likely to be the real life person desired, but not 100% guaranteed.

3. Postal Address Match

This least specific form of matching uses IP addresses to make inferences on a person based on what one knows about their neighbors. While not always helpful to guess things like party affiliation, this matching strategy can prove quite accurate when looking at attributes like household income or net worth.

However, one of the best ways to increase offline-online matches is to match based on email addresses. As Dave Hendricks pointed out in a recent ClickZ article, email addresses are unique, persistent, and represent real people online. The more email addresses in your database, the better set up you are to target those people wherever they go online.

Knowledge Is Power

Our CBDO Mike Snow put it best recently at the MediaPost Marketing Politics panel, “Learning the New ABCs of Data” :

The first step to any sort of online targeting is knowing who your best audience is and what message they respond best to. With a DMP, you can…

  • Measure your organic traffic for a barometer of who your target voters really are
  • Zero in on your target voters’ passions—which issues really fire them up?
  • Define audiences for finely tuned, targeted messages

With this kind of online listening, you gain an understanding of your audience that you just can’t glean from a TV commercial. Banner and email advertising are often thought of as great strategies for fundraising (and they are!), but this kind of intent listening can do more than drive dollars. It can drive decisions.

The Legend of the “Honey Badger”

Going into the special election for Florida’s 13th district House seat last week, Republican David Jolly’s chances were looking grim. John Rogers, the deputy political director at the National Republican Congressional Committee, told Advertising Age, “Projections a few weeks out showed that we were losing absentees by an amount we didn’t like and that we needed to make a change.”

Using voter file information and a lean “Honey Badger” database, the NRCC’s data team developed analytical models to determine which voters were most likely to cast absentee ballots. Based on these insights, the NRCC’s independent expenditure campaign group launched VoteEarlyFlorida.com to make the absentee voting process as easy as possibly.

Representative Jolly won the election with 48.4% of the vote, compared to his Democrat competitor Alex Sink’s 46.55%. What’s even more impressive is the proof that the team’s absentee ballot strategy worked: registered Republicans submitted 54,184 absentee ballots compared to registered Democrats’ 48,177.

Where Do I Start?

While large-scale operations like presidential campaigns benefit greatly from contracting and using their own personal DMP, a great way for most campaigns to get started is by working with a third-party company that understands how to optimize DMP use. The benefits of doing it this way are multi-fold. There is no learning curve because a third-party company, like Intermarkets, already has the expertise necessary to seamlessly integrate a campaign’s own data with trusted third-party sources and use it to make actionable insights.

If you’re interested in learning more about how a DMP can help your specific campaign, we’d love to chat—reach out to us here. One of the most important things to remember about using a DMP is to start early. The key to eliminating waste and boosting ROI lies in learning as much about your target audience as early as possible.

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ICMYI: You can find part one of the series here.

Whether you’re reading this from Madison Avenue or Pennsylvania Avenue, your ultimate marketing goal is probably the same—get people to take action. The trade secrets that brand advertisers use to make behemoths like Coca-Cola and Apple into household names are secrets no longer. As Election Day approaches, you can use the same branding and marketing strategies as the top advertisers and agencies to propel your political campaign or cause to victory.

Here are six simple steps to help you implement Madison Ave strategies for political campaigns:

1. Set clear goals.

The big brands know that before you can measure success, you have to define it. While direct response techniques work well early on, branding and persuasion become more important as Election Day approaches. As your campaign goals change, so should your advertising strategy. Market saturation through ad network inventory may be perfect for mobilizing voters before Election Day, while site-specific rich media ads work better to emphasize your candidate’s unique value. Your goals will then inform your success metrics. For instance, while click-through rates are an important gauge in direct response campaigns, a branding campaign may instead measure success by increases in share of voice or offline action.

2. Reach the right people.

Did you know that the typical web user is served 1,707 banner ads per month? In such an ad-saturated environment, the best way to attract the support you need is to micro-target ads, focusing on conversion by speaking to specific voter groups on the subjects that matter to them. Presuming you already know who you want to speak to, today’s targeting technology can provide the where and how. Using non-personally identifiable information, advanced algorithms can match offline voting and donating behaviors to online buying and reading behaviors to help you find and understand your target audience.

3. Listen to your audience.

The key to persuasion isn’t so much talking as it is listening. With Intermarkets’ advanced web tools, you can gather information on your users’ online behaviors and preferences, empowering you to tailor your message and strategy. For example, if all your conversions are coming from one website, you can optimize your campaign to only run on that website or other websites like it. Using a conversion pixel, you can also exclude users who have already signed up for your email list from being asked to sign up again. Audience targeting can even help you reach outside your base by discovering “look-alike” voters based on their behavioral and demographic profiles.

4. Understand inventory types.

Different types of ad inventory serve different purposes, so it’s important to have a good mix in any successful display campaign. The pros of direct buys are easy—when you work with the publisher directly, you can enjoy premium spots, guaranteed placement, and rapid response messaging. Quickly capitalize on a speech’s success or spotlight an opponent’s misstep—all before the next news cycle.  Another important type of inventory is remnant. Normally bought through ad networks or exchanges, remnant inventory can provide better market saturation and a lower dollar return. When combined with programmatic buying, remnant inventory can also target voters and “look-alikes” wherever they go online.

5. Think beyond the standard banner ad.

Static ads are just the beginning of what you can do with digital advertising. As Election Day approaches, TV and video inventory dwindles, and quality, standout digital advertising experiences can make or break a campaign. Rising Star ad units like the Billboard or the Pushdown provide large, interactive canvases that support TV assets, forms, and multiple calls to action. Users can expand an ad to see more content, play video, fill out a contact form, or even share your ad on Twitter and Facebook—all without leaving the page of origin. Plus, Rising Star ad units are a proven way to improve your ad interactions. In recent studies, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that Rising Star units performed nearly 3x better than standard units in universal interaction rate. At Intermarkets, we’ve seen these units increase interaction rates up to 27.1%—6x that of standard units and almost 3x that of Rising Star ads trafficked through other channels.

6. Don’t underestimate the power of ad-serving technology.

Ad delivery technology is one of the most overlooked aspects of online advertising, yet how an ad is served can determine whether your ads get noticed. Box out the competition on key sites with an ad “roadblock,” or use ad pairings for persuasion. As a part of the memorable Apple “Mac vs. PC” campaign, the brand ran companion ads with “PC” in the lower unit, looking up at “Mac” in the leaderboard unit. The PC ad block was filled with text, while the Mac unit was bare, relaying Apple’s core brand message of simplicity in a subtle yet powerful way. A political campaign could easily use this same strategy to highlight the differences between different candidates or disparate policies.

This campaign season, combine your team’s tried and true political know-how with the most cutting-edge advertising strategies available. Most of all, don’t hesitate to employ the help of an expert—or better yet, a team of experts! We’ve worked with hundreds of political campaigns at all levels, and would be happy to help your team optimize your campaign—reach out to our solutions team at any time for a free campaign consultation.

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Today’s post marks the kickoff of our new blog series, “The (R)Evolution of the Modern Political Campaign.” As this year’s campaign season revs up, 2014 is set up to be a record-breaking year for political spending and innovation, and you need to know what to expect!

Digital Is the New Black

In a recent Media Post articleConsumers in Motion Managing Director Dan Hodges claims, “A new standard has been set for political advertising.” We couldn’t agree more! If nothing else, the 2012 elections taught us that digital is indispensable to the campaign process. In another article on digitaltrends.com, Versa CEO and founder Keya Dannenbaum summarized how crucial the use of online data was to President Obama’s 2012 win:

“Campaigns had an unprecedented ability to know everything about voters—from social data to commercial data to public data to their own internal records from past campaigns, especially in Obama’s case—and the ones who used this data to build prediction models were the most successful in fundraising, voter persuasion, and turnout, which are the three essentially elements of any campaign.”

Where Are Your Dollars Going?

This year, billions of campaign dollars will be funneled into securing the 435 House seats, 35 Senate seats, and 34 governorships up for grabs this year—the question is, how to make them go the furthest.

What to Expect in 2014

  • Incorporation of best “big brand” practices into political campaigns
  • Heavier use of data to micro-target voters
  • More robust analytics to measure true ROI and better allocate precious funds
  • Reaching voters in their own space through social media and social advertising
  • Using online video to match the scale of TV with the added bonus of advanced metrics
  • Reaching voters on every screen to fit their mobile, cross-channel lifestyles

In this series, we’ll be diving into everything from basic best practices to the ABCs of DMPs to how to make social and video advertising work for you. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, subscribe via email in the sidebar or follow us on Twitter (#FTW2014) or Facebook.

Political Series Links

Part 1: “We’re All ‘Mad’ Here”
Part 2: “The Honey Badger’s Guide to Winning” 
Part 3:  “Data Mining and Voter Targeting: A User Guide”
Part 4: “Campaigning in a Cross-Channel World”
Part 5: “Beyond TV: Online Video Comes of Age”

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7 Reasons You Should Be Advertising on the Drudge Report

You know the Drudge Report—the deceptively simple website that has been breaking stories like the Monica Lewinsky scandal since its 1997 rise to fame. Boasting 21 million uniques* each month, the Drudge Report is the primary online source of breaking news and information for savvy readers, the media, political insiders, and influential opinion leaders.

Read on for seven reasons that the Drudge Report is a uniquely effective place to make an impact and drive ROI:

1. The Drudge Report drives more news traffic than Twitter or Facebook.

The Drudge Report may present like a news website, but it drives traffic like a web portal. A study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism found that the Drudge Report drove more links than Facebook or Twitter on all the sites to which it drove traffic. The site’s influence “cuts across both traditional organizations such as ABC News to more tabloid-style outlets such as the New York Post.”

Why This Matters: By advertising on the Drudge Report, you can reach a more robust audience before they disperse and follow links elsewhere.

2. 90% of the Drudge Report’s traffic is direct.

While most websites receive the majority of their traffic via referrals (a.k.a. links from other websites), the Drudge Report draws visitors on its own accord. The industry average for direct traffic hovers around 37%, but a full 90% of Drudge Report readers count the site as an important enough part of their daily routine that they seek it out, bookmark it, and save it as a favorite.**

Why This Matters: Reach readers where they go first and often—become a part of their daily routine!

3. Readers spend an average 25 minutes or more on the site.

Speaking of daily routines, Drudge Report readers spend more time perusing the site than most of us do reading our morning papers. In fact, the Drudge Report’s average time on site is a full 20 more minutes than the industry average time on site of 4:50.**

Why This Matters: 25+ minutes is a lot more time for your ads to make an impact!

4. The Drudge Report is the #1 referral source for top news sites across the web.

This list includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • FoxNews.com
  • WashingtonPost.com
  • CNN.com
  • Politico.com
  • NYTimes.com
  • WSJ.com
  • ABCNews.go
  • Ap.org
  • WashingtonTimes.com**

Why This Matters: When you compare the costs of advertising on these and other sites to the Drudge Report, where much of the traffic originates, you’ll see a clear difference in value. Drudge Report advertising reaches high-demand audiences at a fraction of the cost, decreasing your bottom line while increasing your ROI.

5. The Drudge Report is politically balanced.

According to comScore data, the majority of Drudge Report readers are actually Independents, followed by Republicans and Democrats.

Why This Matters: For brand advertisers and agencies, this means you’re able to reach the audience without worrying about political affiliation. For political campaigns, the Drudge Report is a great place to reach the swing voters who can make or break a campaign.

6. In fact, the Drudge Report is the most neutral of all news outlets.

In UCLA Policial Science Professor Tim Groseclose’s groundbreaking book, Left Turn, he ranked popular news media outlets on a scale of Very Liberal (0) to Very Conservative (100). His conclusion? “According to my analysis, the Drudge Report is approximately the most fair, balanced, and centrist news outlet in the United States.

Why This Matters: The Drudge Report’s neutrality has inspired millions of loyal readers to see it as a trusted news source—advertising on the site associates your message with that same level of respectability.

7. The Drudge Report is considered by journalists to be a crucial source for breaking news.

David Chalian of ABC News says, “Because of the sheer number of people who look at it and because of the attention it gets from the media, what appears on Drudge can, for a few minutes or an entire day, drive what appears elsewhere, making it, a force in the political news cycle for both the press and the campaigns.”

Why This Matters: The Drudge Report is the perfect place to get your message into the hands of the people who control the story.

Ready to get started?

Founded by Matt Drudge in the early days of the web, the Drudge Report continues to deliver lively and  provocative content to millions of people every day. Visit our site here to see how advertising on the Drudge Report can benefit your company!

Sources:

*Quantcast, 10/12/13–10/19/13

**SimilarWeb.com, 11/21/13