Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama was historic, but to win in a state that hadn’t elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in more than 20 years, the campaign needed a precise digital strategy. Our goals were threefold: 1) energize and turn out Democrats without stirring up Republican opposition 2) soften support among key Republican groups and 3) convince enough Republicans, particularly women, to support Jones.
Our precise digital targeting and compelling creative worked. On Election Day, black voters made up 30% of the electorate, higher than when President Obama was on the ballot in 2008 or 2012. And turnout was lower than expected for Roy Moore across the board. In fact, every county trended more Democratic from 2016. Both female and independent voters voted for Jones in a stunning rebuke.
To reach Democrats, and particularly black voters, without stirring up their Republican neighbors we combined 1st party data with cutting-edge geo-targeting to surround specific communities of voters. We also developed Republican audiences where Moore’s support could be softened, including college-educated moderate women, affluent Republican men, young Republicans and moderates getting news from fake news sources. By Election Day we had talked to more than a million voters and our content was viewed nearly 37 million times.
Based on an analysis we conducted, voters were 13% more likely to vote and were 13% more favorable of Jones after seeing our ads online. Engagement with our content was high, too. On Snapchat alone, where we were the first political campaign to use their custom geo-targeted filters, videos and filters reached over 329,000 people.
Our digital creative was impactful and told the deeply emotional story of Jones’ successful prosecution of the KKK, included personal appeals from Jones on kitchen table issues, and portrayed Moore as extreme. Rapid response video online also played a key role in keeping the Jones campaign front and center and cutting through the noise in Alabama, particularly on social media. Our comprehensive approach to building an effective and efficient digital program helped elect Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate.