Get Out The Vote and Persuading a Stay-At-Home Electorate

The 2020 elections are likely to go down as one of the most divisive in history. Additionally, the current COVID-19 pandemic is likely to continue to have repercussions on our social practices through November. Developing new social distancing practices to vote safely and ensure the sanctity of the ballot box will be paramount. Against this backdrop, digital outreach will become even more critical as every vote will matter. The digital outreach ability to drive GOTV (Get Out the Vote) is the name of the game for an electorate that is increasingly anchored to their homes.

It is estimated that as much as $1.6B will be spent on digital political advertising in 2020. Joel Sawyer, one of a4 Advertising’s Account Executive Managers, has been researching these trends and believes understanding digital advertising begins with the implied political goals. Sawyer says, “Digital advertising is one of the primary ways a campaign can establish familiarity with the candidate and potential voters. Once you have a baseline established, you are then able to begin to use persuasion, so voters are thinking toward action. That action can include volunteering, donating, and of course, finally voting on Election Day.” As our news consumption occurs primarily through online channels, it is evident that a political call to action is best suited for that medium.

Our GOTV efforts are focused on persuading as many eligible voters as possible toward a specific action, as Sawyer highlights. Digital advertising has proven to be highly efficient in reaching prospective targets. The ubiquitous nature of the internet guarantees a highly fragmented market which makes attention harder to garner. “The beauty of digital is that it is capable of generating very granular messages that make it more likely for you to link the right message to the right audience,” Sawyer says.

He adds, “Polling is a valuable asset when used in conjunction with digital outreach because the intelligence gathered during that process gives you the insight necessary to craft persuasive messaging and ensure it reaches those who care about a particular issue.” Even as digital spending increases, this type of advertising ends up being more cost-effective despite not having the broad visibility of more traditional advertising channels like TV, radio, and billboards.

The efficiency of digital advertising becomes even more critical when comparing local and national political contests. Sawyer observes, “The granular nature of digital advertising makes for a cost-effective targeting tool, especially given that state races are smaller than people participating and tighter compared to the number of votes separating the winner from the loser.” The cost-prohibitive nature of traditional media can be a barrier to an effective GOTV strategy in which digital advertising counters.

Furthermore, it is important to distinguish between different digital tactics. Platform choice is critical, as Sawyer explains, “The increase in the number of cord-cutters and the amount of streaming content that average viewers are consuming is making OTT (over-the-top) the platform with the most potential this year. Having the capacity to target viewers exactly where they are with targeted accuracy regarding the message message makes that platform a new battleground for GOTV efforts.”

Targeted digital tools ranging from mobile, a4 Advertising’s Mobile AdMessenger geofencing ad unit, Facebook and the growing reach of OTT opportunities can be game-changers when appropriately used. “Digital advertising works because it is a direct appeal transmitted over highly relevant and accessible channels. Digital spending delivers real value in brand awareness and voter persuasion, both qualities are essential to GOTV success. One of the biggest assets we bring to the table is our collective decades of campaign experience.”


Paraphrased from an article originally published on Media Village on 6/4/2020  — Media Village

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