Are you getting the most out of your digital persuasion campaign?
Political targeting has grown leaps and bounds in the past few years, with innovations happening every day. One of the most significant developments is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to drive a campaign’s digital analytics, optimization, audience identification, voter attribute learnings for online and offline, and response media. What can AI Analytics do for your campaign? Below are six different ways that AI can be used to optimize your campaign in real time.
1. Deliver the right messages with the right messengers
These are the age-old questions in political communication: What is the message? Who is the best messenger? Traditionally, those questions have been determined based on polling, ad tests, and other qualitative research (if a campaign is lucky enough to have a larger research budget). Today you can supplement a research budget of any size with real-time statistics and recommendations driven by AI that tell you what messages work with certain voters and what messengers are the best to deliver those messages.
In the No on 2A campaign in Pueblo, Colorado (pictured above), we utilized 57 unique creative video executions at any time. Our efforts showed dramatic overall video completion rates (71.37%) and engagement rates (35.22%). Our AI-powered digital and social advertising campaign was critical to our overall victory on the ballot measure. Through A.I., we could learn what messages and messengers voters responded to best – and adjust creative delivery in real time. Public polling showed ballot issue 2A started with 70% of voters in favor of the measure. After the final votes were cast, voters ultimately rejected the measure, with 76% voting no—a complete rejection of the proposal.
2. Analyze Voter Media Consumption Habits and New Offline Programming Targets
A.I. analysis can be used to better understand critical persuadable audiences – and how to catch them throughout their busy day. Some voters will engage with your content online, and some will not. A.I. can help your campaign determine those voters and suggest key TV programming for those not engaging and watching your content online.
In Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ 2022 reelection campaign, one of our key persuasion audience targets was significantly over-indexing for TV programming such as pro-tennis tournaments and Seinfeld re-runs on traditional television. A.I. also revealed that we could reach underperforming parts of Evers’ digital universe by targeting TV shows such as American Idol and Drew Barrymore.
3. Creative Optimization: Make sure more voters watch your ads to completion and engage at higher rates with your content.
Have you ever wondered if images, colors, fonts, and creative presentations matter when it comes to click through rates? They do. Big time. But the answer can be very different among voters.
AI-powered optimizations can look at traditional voter groupings such as party affiliation, geography, voting history, and demographics but it can go far behind that by analyzing thousands of attributes – everything from travel habits to magazine subscriptions to vehicle ownership and beyond. AI can find patterns in these attributes where none seemingly exist and help you deliver advertising to best generate engagement among your targeted voters.
In 2019, AI-Powered tech helped Eric Genrich win big in a seat that a Republican mayor had held for the last 16 years. In Eric Genrich’s successful campaign to become Green Bay’s next mayor, we ran over 100 pieces of display, video, and native creative at any given time on the web. Using AI-powered optimizations, we tested images, colors, messages, and ad sizes with every possible voter group we could imagine. AI optimizations tested all the creative against each other and determined what was best to achieve high click-through rates. For example, we achieved a 1.5% click through rate among male Independents over 60 with a purple ad with a black border. The industry benchmark for a similar banner ad is .08% – our results were 18.75 times that benchmark. The American Association of Political Consultants recognized our efforts on Genrich’s winning campaign awarding SNS the Pollie Award for the “Best Use of Data Analytics/ Machine Learning.”
4. Find new voter audiences receptive to your campaign message.
AI-powered technology allows a campaign to analyze thousands of attributes from individual voters interacting the most with your campaign ads. AI can find patterns in these attributes where none seemingly exist. From that analysis, a campaign can create a new audience of voters not initially targeted but would be highly responsive to the campaign’s message based on the newly identified attributes. We’ve used this very effectively in several campaigns.
No on 2A in Pueblo Colorado. We utilized AI-powered technology to identify and analyze key voter attributes within our original target audience that engaged most with our creative. AI identified one audience that stood out: people prioritizing “Low Cost Energy.” We could target an additional 6,000 people that fit that profile that we hadn’t previously fit our targeted voter profile. We expanded to include this new audience and found it incredibly perceptive to our message. This new audience watched our videos at a 72.87% completion rate and clicked our content (CTR) at a rate of 0.16% – much higher than industry standards (and in some cases higher than our other targeted audiences).
5. Exclude less responsive voters
AI-powered technology can also help campaigns analyze thousands of attributes from voters responding the LEAST to the campaign’s advertising. Once the “least responsive voters” are identified, you can shift digital resources to either new voter audiences or existing voter audiences that are performing better to increase your frequency of communication. For example:
Yes on Proposition 19 in California. We were running ads to an incredibly well-modeled list. With a limited budget, we knew that we would have to look within these lists and “drop” the voters who weren’t engaging as much to increase the reach and frequency to the more responsive voters. AI-powered technology showed us that voters who purchased luxury cars and young voters with lower incomes responded particularly poorly. Those exclusions allowed us to expand to new voter audiences that AI identified as likely to respond well – this included pet-owning voters who like to be outdoors and voters who like to read about technology and science. By making the aforementioned exclusion of voters, we expanded to a new voter audience that would have otherwise not received communications from the campaign. Ultimately, the new audience had a significantly high video completion rate of 80.45% and a click-through rate of .12% – higher than the industry benchmark.
6. Respond to attacks without amplifying them further.
Many factors go into a campaign’s decision on whether or not to respond to an opponent’s attack ad. One of the core tenets of a good response ad is to not spread the original attack further than needed. New A.I.-powered tools can greatly assist in response media by analyzing millions of commercial and political data points, creating custom audiences of voters exposed to your opponent’s attack, and matching that data against media consumption habits.
In Governor Tony Evers’ re-election in 2022, he was attacked with a completely false negative smear from an outside interest group. Given the timing, the campaign did not want to respond on television. Still, we DID want any voter in our persuadable audience who saw the false attack to receive a response ad. The A.I.-powered REVEAL tool created a digital universe for the campaign based on our persuadable targets exposed to the false attack on Television. Based on this, we delivered our response ad digitally 31 times to voters within our persuadable universe exposed to the false attack on television.