Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hot 2014 Races to Fuel TV Ad Spending

If you're campaigning in states like Michigan and Arkansas next year, get ready to compete for attention with big TV political ad spends, per analysis by TVB, the local broadcaster trade association. Overall, political ad spending on local TV is projected to be $2.4 billion next year, according Kantar's Campaign Media Analysis Group, which is an increase of more than 4% from the $2.3 billion mid-term elections of 2010, the first election to see the effect of unlimited outside group spending enabled by the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision. Arkansas and Michigan are forecast to draw the hottest spate of political ad activity in the 2014 mid-term elections because of competitive House, Senate and governor races. Other states that will see heavy TV advertising include West Virginia, Georgia and Iowa--where there are open Senate seats--and Alaska and Kentucky, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Begich and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are being targeted by Senate campaign groups. Two wild cards may impact TV ad budgets, however: the influx of money from independent groups and "big data" analytics, which could temper TV mass-audience buys in favor of micro-targeting specific groups. For TVB's state-by-state political ad market projections, see the USA Today article at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/11/13/2014-political-ads-michigan-arkansas/3498023/

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

L.A. Mayor Race Brews Potent Microtargeting Potion

A Los Angeles-based digital ad firm recently revealed to Fast Company magazine its microtargeted data strategy in support of successful first-time L.A. mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti. Consulting for a PAC, the Engage:BDR agency's goal was to target a demographic of 500,000 English-speaking and Spanish-speaking Latinos aged 18-46. The agency says it combined 120 data points from offline household consumer statistics, "hyper-local IP data sets," census data and voter records to microtarget its online ad campaign. The campaign implemented an ad schedule of display and video ads, for both desktop and mobile users, with timings most likely to deliver response according to behavioral data. Mobile ads also were geo-specific down to the GPS coordinates of a given block, so ads could direct voters to their local polling places. The results, per the agency, included more than 7 million impressions in just two weeks and 10% to 17% better click-through rates for the target Latino demographics. For more, see the Fast Company article at http://www.fastcompany.com/3021092/yes-political-campaigns-follow-your-browser-history

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

HealthCare.gov Mess Has Lessons for Campaigns

What can the Obamacare website debacle teach a political marketer, or a brand marketer for that matter? A recent online post by David Heitman, president of a Colorado branding and PR firm, lays out some cogent lessons for campaigns and causes. The first obvious lesson, he writes, is that it's better to launch late than launch badly. The second lesson is to put a premium on critical feedback. Apparently, pre-launch issues with the HealthCare.gov website didn't get to the top, or the top didn't listen. Next, when something goes wrong, remember that the media and the voters can forgive a mistake but not a cover-up. Trying to deny or hide the truth only incites the media and sours supporters. And don't underestimate the intelligence of your audience by trying to mislead in a world of click-speed data sharing. As Heitman points out, when HHS boasted that 15 million visits showed the popularity of HealthCare.gov, Pew Research could quickly counter that 70% of those visitors had insurance and were not serious shoppers. The impact of technical errors on the Obama administration's credibility also underscores the vulnerability of candidates and campaigns to their high-tech advisors. Make sure your campaign has invested in a proven, trustworthy technical team! But perhaps the toughest political lessons are how failure in the details can undermine the larger vision, and how a launch stumble can risk the race. See the full post at http://www.bcbr.com/article/20131108/EDITION0806/131109942/-1/DigitalEdition

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

E-mail Fundraising: Learning From Obama's Success

E-mail fundraising, where a faulty subject line can cost millions of dollars in donations, can be a daunting prospect. Luckily for 2014 political campaigners, the successful Obama 2012 presidential bid blazed a path with extensive A/B e-mail testing. A recent econsultancy.com interview with Amelia Showalter, Obama's director of digital analytics, provided some tips based on that testing. To see how much it matters, consider that the difference in effectiveness of the best-performing test subject line and the worst-performing test subject line was estimated at over $2 million in donations. So take advantage of the lessons learned by the Obama team. No. 1: Test everything, because your "gut" and conventional wisdom are often poor predictors of what works with the electorate. The Obama digital team was consistently wrong in predicting which would be the top-performing test e-mails, Showalter says. In fact, "ugly" designs often beat "pretty" designs; the Obama team found a design with strident yellow highlighting trumped more subtle appeals, for example. And keep on testing! Create a testing culture immune to marketing and political egos, include columns for "tests" in all short-term and long-term e-mail campaign calendars, and constantly compare test results to prior performance (not just industry standards). Don't let the digital team perform in a bubble, however; spread the word about test results internally to get buy-in and generate new ideas from the wider campaign effort. Finally, make your e-mails both personalized and personal. For example, subject lines that are shorter and less formal perform better, per the Obama experience. A subject line that just said "Hey" was consistently most successful! Don't be afraid of mild curse words now and then as well; "Let's win the damn election" worked for Obama. For more on the lessons from the Obama digital team, read http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/63672-seven-lessons-obama-s-digital-team-learned-from-a-b-testing-emails