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Digital advertising revolutionizes local campaigns

All political consultants know that marketing can make or break a campaign.

According to the sales and advertising group Winmo, “political campaigns at the state level are spending more and more on marketing and advertising. In fact, in the past two years, political ad spend has increased significantly for local campaigns, especially when it comes to big data and digital advertising.”

Digital advertising has allowed candidates in small media markets to communicate with voters. “Before 2012, if you were a local candidate running for a legislature position or a role as a county supervisor, then you had limited advertising options,” says Nathan Sproul, Lincoln Strategy Group’s Managing Director. “And that was especially true for candidates who lived in big media markets but who didn’t have ‘big media’ money.”

These days, raising half a million dollars might still preclude you from doing multiple television ads, but you can still buy display ads and banners via Facebook and other social platforms. With digital ads, you often get more bang (extensive outreach, precise targeting, etc.) for your buck.

Four years ago, calling voters by phone and doing door-to-door canvassing were the only way to get your message in front of people if you weren’t doing big ad buys on television. Performing the grassroots and door-to-door work is still critical to campaign success, but the burgeoning digital marketplace opens a new door, the virtual door, that’s available and accessible to all.

“Plus, digital advertising has a video component,” says Nathan. “And that opens up even more opportunities to meet voters where they are. Think about Republicans who don’t vote in primaries. If you want to connect with them, you’d have to go outside Congressional boundaries–but then, you’re restricted to satellite buys. Well, a digital ad buy circumvents that issue entirely. Recently at Lincoln, we did a modest digital buy for our client Bob Burns who’s running for Arizona Corporate Commission and polls are showing him winning by at least 10%, especially with voters under the age of 35.”

That younger people respond more to digital ads isn’t surprising. According to Ad Age, millennials are 22% more engaged with digital media than baby boomers and millennials are more likely to remember an add three days after they’ve viewed it.

Buying advertising isn’t foolproof, whether it’s digital or otherwise, but exploring the digital route is essential in the journey to campaign triumph.  

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