Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Political Direct Mail 'Tricks' Don't Need to Get Dirty

Political direct mail can use proven "tricks" to grab attention of donors and voters--and they don't have to be the dirty variety that generate more bad press and offense than dollars and support. A recent Target Marketing magazine article by Paul Bobnak, director of Who's Mailing What! direct mail monitoring, highlighted some recent political mail successes--and faux pas--to help campaigns with winning creative. First, Bobnak cites an example of what not to do: a recent matching gift appeal mailer from GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. The Cruz team used a No. 10 envelope similar to official Senate mail to constituents, an address window showing a security-like "check," and an envelope promise of "check enclosed." It's a common financial offer trick and not illegal (once opened, the recipient will see "no cash value" written on the check), but it still risks unnecessary confusion and offense in a political setting. Bobnak suggests some alternatives that can work well without the negatives of the Cruz gambit. For example, use a teaser or envelope tag line that personalizes and speaks in the candidate's authentic voice, such as "The NSA Hasn't Read This..." on Rand Paul's 2016 Senate campaign mail. Color images and oversize mailers work well to stand out in the mailbox, such as Martha McSally's congressional bid with a eye-catching four-color photo on a 6"X11" envelope, showing the combat-pilot-turned-candidate in front of an A-10 warplane. Front-end premiums create engagement for retail, charity and political campaigns, too; Bobnak cites the fundraising package from the Democratic National Committee, which adds a free door-to-door campaign kit to the standard letter, donation form and BRE, including a big sheet of stickers, a couple of door hangers, and a wafer-sealed outer envelope that folds out into a handy "Vote Democrat" poster. For visual examples, go to http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/post/dont-like-ted-3-smarter-ways-get-political-direct-mail-noticed/

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Campaigns Must Go Beyond First-Party Voter Data

Political campaigns in 2016 are challenged as never before to go beyond first-party voter data in their digital outreach, points out a recent AdExchanger.com post. Peter Pasi, vice president of political sales at the digital ad agency Collective, notes that Borrell Associates has predicted candidates will be spending $1 billion on political digital ads ahead of the 2016 election, a huge jump from the $159 million spent in 2012. A lot of those dollars will be absorbed by programmatic advertising, which replaces human ad management with programmed ad buying and placement based on targeting data and real-time bidding. That requires digging a lot deeper into the data to avoid wasting impressions, and dollars, on generic voter campaigns, Pasi argues. Why won't basic voter data do the job? Because political advertising needs to focus on a finite audience of eligible voters actually likely to go to the polls and back the candidate or cause. Remember that only half of eligible voters actually show up to vote and many of those are not persuadable, Pasi points out. Plus, if 2016 proves anything, it is that polarizing candidates can overturn the usual assumptions about voter support. Luckily, campaigns can now use targeting data that goes beyond the static modeling by age/income/ethnicity/party affiliation of the past. They can optimize ad-targeting with real-time polling results, ID calls, field work, e-mail and direct mail responses, set-top TV data, and offline purchase and interest behavior. A lot can be gleaned about voters from what they read, view, share and buy. For example, targeting new mothers might help a candidate with a strong platform on child care or child tax credits, while identifying hunters can be crucial for campaigns focused on gun control and related issues, notes Pasi. And in today's volatile races, access to real-time data is key to adjusting and optimizing messaging and targeting. For more: http://adexchanger.com/politics/to-reach-likely-voters-political-advertisers-must-move-beyond-first-party-data/

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Voters Unite in Interest, Differ on News Sources

This presidential election cycle has grabbed the public's attention, whether via TV or social media, in an unprecedented way. The most recent Pew Research Center survey finds that 91% of Americans have already tuned into election information--a higher level of learning about presidential candidates than at the same point in the past two presidential elections. Yet, while united in overall interest, the electorate differs widely on which media are the most helpful sources of information, with no one source gaining more than a quarter of adult favor-- so campaigns definitely can't put all their eggs in one media basket. Overall, voters rate cable TV news as the most helpful (24%), followed by social media (14%) and local TV (14%). At the bottom (1%) is candidate or campaign digital outreach via website/app/e-mail. Unsurprisingly, preferences are affected by age, education level and political party, Pew reports. Cable television is most popular with those 65 and older and Republicans, while soical media is the favorite information source of 18- to 29-year-olds. Just as important for campaign planners is the fact that the majority of voters learn about the presidential election from multiple sources ( 45% from five or more and 35% from three or four), compared with only 9% who get information from just one source. TV still tops the media mix, with 78% of Americans saying they learned about the presidential reace from at least one of the four TV-based sources (cable news, local news, national network news, late-night comedy). Another 65% list a digital platform as one of their information sources (news website, social site, issue-based site/app/e-mail or campaign group site/app/e-mail). Print newspapers are at the bottom of the information heap (cited by 36%). And before investing in a broad social media push, campaigns also should note that Facebook far outranks other sites as a political source (37% of the public). In contrast, Trump's go-to Twitter is sourced by just 9%. For more detail, read http://www.journalism.org/2016/02/04/the-2016-presidential-campaign-a-news-event-thats-hard-to-miss/

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Don't Let Digital Ad-Blocking Hobble Your Campaign

Ad blocking by digital and mobile viewers is a growing challenge for political campaigns and causes in the 2016 election cycle, and video ads are especially vulnerable, warns a recent AdExchanger.com post. There are already 45 million monthly active ad-blocking users in the U.S., and ad-blocker usage is growing rapidly. Ad-blocking rates vary by region, from a low of 8% in Washington, D.C. to over 14% in a swing state like New Hampshire. Besides ad blocking, voters--especially millennials--are engaging in ad skipping thanks to skippable digital ads and ad-skipping DVRs. And with ad-free digital video subscriptions, more voters are able to avoid political videos. What can campaigns do? The article suggests several strategies to dodge ad blockers and maximize the viewing run of online display, mobile and video ads. Start by asking digital content providers how they handle anti-ad blocking, such as withholding content if ads are blocked or employing a tech solution to defend agaist ad blockers. Since ad blocking rates vary by site vertical and environment, take that into account in media buys--for example, ad blockers are less effective with mobile native apps than with mobile web browsers. When it comes to video ads, go for premium viewing, such as major media and broadcast sites, to combat viewer drop off due to poor ad stream quality, overall low viewability and even fraudulent impressions. Of course, personalized targeting decreases ad avoidance, and programmatic and other precise viewer targeting can help. For the full article, go to http://adexchanger.com/politics/how-will-political-campaigns-reach-voters-who-are-avoiding-ads/