The Wall Street Journal recently published this story showing how political campaigns (and all marketers for that matter) rely on third-party apps to identify device IDs of advertising targets based on their location history. It’s a window into how ad targeting works and raises questions for consumers about how seemingly harmless third-party apps profit off of their data.
Unfortunately, too many campaigners misunderstand the way location targeting can be effectively used for their advertising goals. As I’ve written before, using geofencing in an attempt to narrowly target a small group of people betrays a lack of understanding of the underlying technology and how advertising works generally.
Ads are only effective with sufficient repetition. Narrowly targeting advertising based on geography means you aren’t getting the repetition you need to reach persuadable voters. But here are five ways you can leverage location targeting in a useful way with your campaign ads.
Speak About Specific Local or Regional Issues
Identify a project or headache you plan to address and target the locations impacted by it. This is an especially helpful way to drive media coverage if local news isn’t covering it or you need crossover support.
Personalize Your Ads
Use familiar images or call out specific geographies within your district to personalize your ads. With just a little bit of extra work, you’ll be able to increase engagement.
Drive Event Turnout
Meeting the candidate is one of the most valuable ways you can earn a voter’s support. So when you’re having an event, make sure people in the nearby area know about it with a geographically targeted ad. Don’t target too narrowly because you may miss potential supporters by accidentally excluding them from an audience.
Even if they’re not likely to attend, it’s a good contrast with your opponent if they’re not perceived as being in the area.
As a Check on Custom Audience Targeting
If you’re building a custom audience based on voter file data, make sure you also layer on what the platform knows about its users to ensure that you aren’t accidentally targeting the wrong people. For example, the audience matching algorithm may incorrectly identify the John Smith on your voter file as a John Smith who lives in another state. Adding on this extra set of geographic restrictions ensures you aren’t wasting money.
Supplement Paid Efforts
For persuasion, you can more cost-effectively increase your reach and repetition with an ad online than through traditional TV broadcast and cable channels. If you’re struggling to keep pace in a certain geography, supplement it with regionally targeted ads.
Reach Voters You May Not Traditionally Target
In tight elections, you can’t take any voters for granted. That also means you can’t write any voters off. Good digital marketers know to trust their data and to follow where it leads. If you’re not targeting certain geographies because they’re not traditionally Republicans, chances are you’re leaving support, dollars, and votes on the table.
Location targeting your ads is an important tool in your campaign’s toolbox, but you have to know how to use it properly for the best results. Follow these tips for ads that are effectively targeted to the right audience.