12 Digital Audiences Every Campaign Should Be Advertising to Online…

Mar 10, 2017

Suburban Chicago is in the final month of municipal elections. This is a critical time for campaigns – grassroots efforts are in full swing, candidates are knocking on doors and attending every event imaginable and digital advertising plans should be in full gear. Too many candidates believe that if they are posting on their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts, they are doing what they should be, but that is far from the truth. Digital advertising must be a part of their digital strategy.

Here are twelve audiences that campaigns need to be advertising to in order to be successful:

  1. Districtwide Social Media Users – Campaigns need to translate districts into geographic audiences online. The best way to do this is through zip codes. Campaigns with complicated boundaries may have some spillage, but with the relative low cost of social advertising, that is okay. Be sure to restrict your audiences to users over the age of 18.
  2. Districtwide Senior Citizens – Yes, you can reach senior citizens on Facebook! 55+ is the fastest growing population on Facebook. Seniors are also very committed voters who will read about a candidate. It is easy to target them in your Facebook advertising. I would not plan on targeting them through Instagram or Twitter, but Facebook is a winner.
  3. Districtwide Parents – Through Facebook Advertising, you can target parents with children of specific age groups. Geographically bind this audience and then serve a message that is relevant to parents – school legislation, etc.
  4. First Time Voters – I believe targeting young voters is important. By doing so, you are telling them that their voice matters. Speak to them on platforms that they engage with most… Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Despite what many “experts” will tell, Facebook is still relevant for 18-25-year-olds.
  5. Conservatives / Independents / Liberals – Facebook Advertising has political demographics – based on their online behavior and based on self-reporting. Depending on your party affiliation, use these classifications for your targeting. If you are an independent, craft a specific message for each audience.
  6. Campaign Donors – Facebook also allows marketers to target people with a high propensity to give to political campaigns. Use this audience to raise awareness for your campaign. You don’t have to ask for money immediately, but I would serve ads that show these prospective donors that you are serious about your campaign.
  7. Media – All reporters, anchors, producers and writers are on Twitter. It is how they prefer to communicate with their audience. Twitter allows you to advertise to specific Twitter handles. Build a spreadsheet of all the press and media representatives that will cover your election and advertise to them. It is a very good way to stay in front of the media.
  8. Website Visitors – People who take the time to visit your website and learn more about you are an important demographic for you. They are one of two people, either people who are genuinely interested in your campaign or the opposing campaigns’ staff. Both should see your ads! This is done through Facebook, Twitter or Google Remarketing.
  9. Facebook Engagers – This is a new audience recently made available to Facebook advertisers. It includes people who have liked, shared or otherwise engaged with your Facebook page. It could be the same as your page fans but these are even stronger advocates for you. Try pitching this audience with volunteer opportunities or for donations.
  10. Facebook Fans – Right now, only about 10% of your fan base will see your posts. Facebook has been forcing you to pay for more exposure. If your fan base is small, this could be a very minimal expenditure, but one that is worth it. Most people don’t realize that everyone who likes their page doesn’t see every post. They don’t, so advertising is important.
  11. Friends of Fans of your Page – This is another unique Facebook audience. It is the friends of your fans. If you do this through Facebook Ad Manager, you can restrict this audience to friends of fans of your Facebook page who live in your district. This is almost a friend-to-friend campaign.
  12. Email Custom Audience – Be sure to use any of the email lists that you currently own to create Facebook audiences and tailor messages to them. If you have a volunteer email list, advertise opportunities to get involved or donate to them. If you have a +/- database, use it with custom messaging.

There is a lot of power in digital advertising and it comes at a fraction of the cost to your campaign. In fact, you can often reach people 10 times online for the cost of sending them a single mailer. If you are working on a campaign and are missing any of these audiences, call us (or another advertising expert) today!



Jason Baumann is the Chief Digital Strategist at Boxless, a well-respected Digital Marketing speaker and expert on Digital Marketing for Political Campaigns. Jason works with campaigns of all sizes to help them realize their goals online. In 2015, Jason led a dedicated team at Boxless that studied social media usage by more than 100 candidates in the Chicago Municipal Elections. For more information about that study or to contact Jason about your campaign, visit www.boxlesspolitical.com.


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