GeoMinds: Hillary & Trump, Here’s How You Should Run Your Mobile Campaign

Thinknear’s Kristine Lyng

Political advertising in the digital ecosystem has, historically, been grossly inefficient. Last year, Zac Moffatt, co-Founder of Targeted Victory, said at the OMMA Marketing Politics Conference in D.C., “73 cents on the dollar were off target in TV political ad buys in 2014 congressional campaigns.” That means, you would have better luck on any given day gambling your money than hitting the right target with political advertising.

Candidates spend their time within the boundaries of specific congressional or voting districts, and so should mobile political ads. Location-based data is the key to political advertising success because of its ability to be hyperlocal, with the option to cater to extremely specific demographics within target voting districts with ease. Fundraising, messaging, and collecting votes are the main drivers of any well-rounded political campaign. Mobile location data helps to ensure your campaign is reaching the right audience based on who a mobile user is, where they are, and where they have been.

Get the Funds

Funding is the key to any successful political campaign. Every donation means more than just a dollar; it means a vote. Targeting specific areas of your district allows you to elicit responses from voters most likely to make a donation. However, you must ensure that you are only advertising to those who are truly within your district; otherwise, you’re just wasting resources. Thinknear president, Loren Hillberg, iterated this point well when reviewing the problem of targeting zip codes in political mobile campaigns. In his example, he discussed the case of “The Praying Mantis” congressional district, aptly named for its strange and varied shape. (See the blue overlay below.) Hillberg iterates that “…as districts like The Praying Mantis demonstrate, congressional districts don’t follow zip codes. So relying on ad inventory from publishers that only have self-reported zip code information will create a lot of misses for marketers trying to target voters in narrowly defined districts.”

Zip code regions often vary drastically from the shape of congressional districts, as in the example below. Meaning, if you decide to advertise in a certain district using zip code data, only a small fraction of your delegates may actually see the mobile ad. A more accurate solution is to target those who live in a certain area based on location data, and still, you want to make sure you have the most accurate data on the market.

Get Your Message Out

A smartphone is the only device that people carry everywhere they go, making it the most personal advertising platform. As Hillberg mentioned in his AdExchanger article, “Political ads are loud and tend to point fingers more than point out issues. This helps to capture attention on TV or in print, but mobile is a much more personal medium.”

Focus on reaching consumers at the right time and in the right place on mobile. Mitt Romney did this successfully in 2012 during a concert in Grant Park, Chicago. This campaign not only saved Romney money (not needing to buy ad inventory for the entire city of Chicago), but also enabled his team to target mobile users with certain behaviors. Creating a Scored GeoFence around campaign venues, grassroots events, bus tours, etc. can help to reinforce your message among those who are already interested in a relevant cause or candidate.

To make Romney’s 2012 campaign even better, he could have also used GeoCookies after the event to retarget those who went to the concert. By creating a follow-up mobile campaign, it reinforces your message and ensures your target audience sees the ad.

Get Voters to the Polls

Encouraging your supporters to actually cast a vote is the perfect chance to use rich media and create strong calls-to-action. Using third-party voter registration data can help you reach only those who are likely to actually vote, ensuring your media dollars are spent effectively. Additionally, this third-party data paired with Thinknear’s first-party location data can create a dynamic user experience by showing the closest polling station to a user’s home.

As any good politician knows, local wins can mean national success. A strong political mobile campaign that uses location data helps ensure your intended audience will donate, support, and vote.

This article was originally posted on Thinknear’s blog.

*Kristine Lyng has served as Digital Marketing Manager at Thinknear by Telenav since April 2015. She was previously Marketing Manager at Ace Metrix.

**Editor’s Note: Our “GeoMinds” opinion series features posts written by outside contributors from all parts of the GeoMarketing community who want to share their views of the trends, issues, problems, and solutions changing the online-to-offline advertising and marketing landscape.