THOUGHTS

Microtargeting for every political campaign

Go to a few political advertising awards ceremonies and you'd be forgiven for thinking that success as a political consultant is a lot like the creative agency life portrayed in Mad Men. But behind the voiceovers, compelling visuals and catchy messaging, the hot digital firms are bringing science to the art of politics. And one of the easiest ways that any campaign can mimic their success is by using Facebook Custom Audiences.

Start with a voter file - you can probably get one free from NationBuilder or your party. Then use my client Accurate Append to email append and phone append your file with opt-in contact information. Accurate Append can typically match a third to half of your voter universe using the names and addresses on the file.

Once you've got a fully enhanced file, you can start creating targets - primary voters with high turnout histories, new voters, young voters, absentee voters and so on. Take your target list CSV file and cut it down to just the contact data for each voter (email, phone). Import each segment into Facebook Ads Manager as a custom data set for a new custom audience. You can now target these groups of voters with Facebook ads for just dollars a day - or really ramp up your spend to saturate voters during key windows, like the weekend before an election or right as absentee ballots go out. Facebook can typically match two thirds of the contact data you load up - making it easy to contact at least a quarter of your voter targets with great efficiency.

Matched lists of actual voters are going to be much better for your advertising than trying to target based on more arbitrary data like who's liked a certain page or who fits within general demographics. Consultant Brad Marston recently worked with Accurate Append to match 25,000 emails to a primary target list and matched 18,000 of those as a custom audience in Facebook. "Our cost per click (CPC) has dropped significantly," Brad said. "We got a notification in Facebook Ads Manager that our current ad campaign has a lower CPC than 99% of similar ads."

If you're using NationBuilder to host your voter file, you can cut lists right inside your nation and then run appends through Accurate Append's automated NationBuilder app. Otherwise, simply get in touch with Accurate Append to create an account and share your file by email or upload through Accurate Append's secure server.

Once you're practiced in custom audiences, you can get more and more creative. Jameson whiskey, in a St. Patrick's Day promotion, used custom audiences to specifically target bartenders with a 3D "thank you" card.

Here are a couple ways for you to step up your microtargeting:

- Target ads specifically to folks who've taken an action on your website or made a donation;
- Create an ad campaign for those who haven't taken action or never open your email newsletters

True microtargeting is getting easier all the time for campaigns - all you need is the right data and a little bit of creativity.


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