During the 2016 election season, a coalition of Colorado nonprofits approached Progressive Promotions to strategize and execute a digital program to motivate their members who don’t vote regularly to make their ballot count in the upcoming election. We gladly accepted the project that would compliment planned phone and mail programs.
PHASE I: RESEARCH & PLAN
Progressive Promotions began by matching members' target lists to several services to model a broader audience who would be likely to engage with the group.
Because Progressive Promotions firmly believes that in order to get your audience to take action, you must meet them where they are, we took our time during this phase to use several tools to track what the intended audience was conversing about at the time, how they engaged with the pages they followed, and when they were online.
The research was crucial in creating best practice Get-Out-The-Vote messaging and social pressure messaging for online ads. This messaging competed well for diminishing availability and growing cost of advertising space as Election Day grew closer, and we reached the best number of impressions per person.
We also tweaked the message for each organization to post on their landing page for the program, which included forms for those who wanted voting information, to sign up to receive more information and/or to support their group so that we could capture their information.
PHASE II (A): CONTENT CREATION - JOINING THE CONVERSATION
While all of the ads were run on Facebook, we experimented with both Link ads (which clicked through to a group’s voting information landing page) and Lead ads (where they see the information and sign up right on Facebook). We discovered early on which demographics of our audience preferred which ads and proceeded accordingly when placing the additional ads in order to get the best return on investment for the coalition.
Progressive Promotion’s research showed that the intended audience loved focusing their time online on videos, Colorado-related pages, and pop culture memes. We started by producing two videos designed to simply highlight the act of voting with little fanfare. The first, more serious video featured different main streets across Colorado tying voting to Colorado’s Western way of life. However, the second one playfully contrasted how easy it is to vote vs. how difficult it is for a T-Rex to play on a playground. Even though some groups were more comfortable sharing “Main Street,” those that used “TRex” had more video views and nearly double the amount of viewers who completed the full video, as well as audience members who engaged with the content and clicked through to the voting information landing page. We also created original gifs, graphics, sample posts, and emails every week to ensure groups’ had the latest voting information, coherent messaging, and optimized content for their organic posts and email lists.
PHASE II (B): CONTENT CREATION - SOCIAL PRESSURE FROM TRUSTED SPOKESPEOPLE
Now that we had our audience members engaged in the conversation where they were (Colorado & pop culture focused), we were able to move them to where we wanted them to be - motivated to make their ballot count.
With that, we moved to social pressure videos to find out how the different demographics of the audience would react. One video featured Dr. Brooks, an African American elder sharing her father’s story of fighting for voting rights in the 1960’s and how it’s now her grandson’s turn to vote. Aimed at older and younger audiences - the goal was to remind them of their responsibility to vote. The second one featured Max, a friend figure on a porch swing sharing his story of how transitioning genders made him realize the importance of elections. And, finally a video focused on four generations of the Sandoval family, a local Latino family that watches the Broncos together every Sunday and goes through their ballots together every election season. Meanwhile, we created original gifs, graphics, sample posts, and emails every week to ensure groups’ had the latest voting information, coherent messaging, and optimized content for their organic posts and email lists.
PHASE II (C): CONTENT CREATION - GETTING OUT VOTING INFORMATION
For the final two weeks of the election, when ballots were in already in hand, we produced a video simply on how to turn in one's ballot. On top of that, we ran graphic ads with the word “Vote,” as well as graphics with written out instructions on how to turn in one’s ballot (especially when it was too late to mail it back in). Across the groups, we simplified the messaging to ensure minimal confusion for the audience.
PHASE III: POST-CAMPAIGN EVALUATION
Progressive Promotions tracked the ads on a daily basis, monitoring their analytics and recognizing important patterns - this allowed us to alter course in real time if an ad was underperforming.
However, at the end of the campaign, we also produced a 10-page report with the exact data per group and demographic by the numbers and graphs, as well as our in depth analysis of what we discovered and best practices to take with them as the groups continue to engage their members and attract potential members in the future.
Progressive Promotions is proud to have played a part in Colorado ending up having one of the highest voter turn out ratios in the Nation - and voters motivated to make their ballot count toward progressive values.