Case Studies


Judicial Message Testing and Targeted Communication

Who? Candidate

When? November 2018 General

Where? Ohio

Office sought? Court of Appeals

This Ohio candidate won the election for Judge of the Ohio Court of Appeals 11th District by leveraging topplr. The social media campaign we ran across Facebook, Instagram, and identity-resolved preroll inventory was built around three cutting-edge social targeting tools: (1) premium voter file matching to social profiles, (2) segmentation by sentiment analysis, and (3) moment-by-moment viewership analysis and segmentation. Our objectives and successes were based around gaining an understanding of the voting audience on social media and transfering that information into insights to inform the creation of custom voter lists.

The candidate first created a video outlining the importance of the office he was running for and the kind of Judge he intended to be. We sent this video out to all likely voters across the district in order to gather better data. Once the engagements started rolling in we were able to measure and map viewer-retention, along with reactions to his video, against political affiliation, age, and gender. By gathering these data from across social media sites we were able to show how strong his support was depending on where a voter fell on the political and demographic spectrum.

He then used these insights to match messages to voters. In the end, we created 34 custom lists broken out by levels of political affiliation, county, absentee ballot status, and more.

We were not only able to empower this candidate to make informed decisions, but also follow through on those decisions when it came time to target particular subsets of registered voters online.  Subtle things like speaking to a county by name and promoting his experience to swing voters while highlighting his party to the base, all gave him the edge needed to win the election.


Better Know Your Precincts

Who? Candidate

When? November 2018 General

Where? Maryland

Office sought? Senate

This Maryland candidate won her election as a Democrat in a +30R district to become State Senator for the 9th District. By using topplr, she was able to target and personalize communication to voters. To empower this kind of communication, we created a custom turnout model to make likely voter lists that she could advertise to for each of the 44 precincts in her district. Her campaign hit the ground running, pushing out ads about the local school districts, rainy day funds, farmers’ rights, firefighter endorsements, and climate action. Each of these messages found a home with a different group of precincts and the diversity of them highlighted her commitment to everyone in her district.

In the end her campaign was able to flip the district and win by just 154 votes (.3% of the electorate). Not only did we provide excellent targeting for her to work with, her campaign also made good use of those audiences by producing a variety of video and still image creatives that clearly spoke to her future constituents.

Her success, as well as ours, was based around a deep understanding of the community where she was running, in particular which messages would resonate with voters in their respective precincts. The well-structured social media targeting we were able to provide, in conjunction with her nuanced use of creative messaging, marks her campaign as a clear stand out example of what to do when targeting voters online.


Digitizing the Door Knock

Who? First Time Candidate

When? May 2018 Primary

Where? Ohio

Office sought? State Representative

This first-time candidate knew she needed the persuasive benefit that door-to-door canvassing provides in order to get voters to engage with her and her campaign messaging. Additionally, running in a primary election in northern Ohio affords little canvassable weather given the region’s cold, and snowy springs. The candidate turned to topplr to digitize her canvassing efforts and meet voters where they are - on social media.  

First, we were able to identify likely Democratic Primary voters in her district, including those voters who had requested to vote by mail. Next, canvassing lists were cut to carve up the 103,000-resident district into manageable chunks. These canvass lists were then mapped to three-day windows on the calendar when the candidate and her canvass team would hit the streets. Finally, we matched the voters in each of these three-day canvass chunks to social media profiles. We launched neighborhood-specific video introductions on paid social media to the exact voters on the canvass lists. The videos featured the candidate and let voters know that she would be knocking doors in their neighbor in the next few days.

The results were remarkable. Not only did the candidate see more early-script positive IDs when the neighborhood videos hit voters ahead of the canvass, answer rates at the door went up dramatically. By sending a neighborhood-tailored message specifically to the canvass targets within a day of a door knock demonstrated how social media could fit the rhythm and scale of highly-effective grassroots campaign tactics.


Support Kids: Go Vote

Who? Future Now

When? Midterm 2018

Where? Arizona, North Carolina, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Office sought? N/A

Future Now Fund’s mission this election season was to flip or break veto-proof majorities in legislative bodies in five states. We worked with them to promote a video of famous young adult authors encouraging everyone to vote. The message was clear but Future Now Fund was looking to ensure that their budget was being spent on the right audience. That is where we came in.

Our job was to reach Democratic-leaning educators in the right (yes that’s a pun) states, who were sporadic midterm voters. To do this we combined public voter data, mobile device-based geofencing, data from people’s Facebook and Instagram use, and optimization tools driving content engagement.

The ad campaign ran in pre-roll and in-feed on Facebook, Instagram, & Associated Apps exclusively during the week prior to the election. In this time we were able to reach 76% of our total target audience an average of 4.08 times.

The best part is we did more than just show the video to people, we showed it to educators who cared. By Election Day the video had 626 shares and 1,956 reactions on social media which enabled one variation to pull 10% of its impressions from organic views, not paid traffic.

Our ability to not only determine the right target audience, but also reach that target in a precise manner helped Future Now Fund support the candidates in these five states who flipped three legislative bodies and broke one supermajority.


Communication Saturation

Who? No on Issue 48

When? November 2018 General

Where? Ohio

Office sought? N/A

The Mayor and City Council of Mayfield Heights, a small suburban community, proposed an income tax increase. We were hired to help the local business community fight back against the increase by developing a strategic digital outreach campaign. Due to our efforts, we were able defeat the referendum 2-to-1, swinging the issue 59 points from polling conducted less than two months before the election.

The popularity of the Mayor and Council leadership coupled with two early polls suggested the increase would pass easily. The first poll reported 49% of residents to be for Issue 48 and 38% to be against it, with 12% undecided. The second poll was even more dismal looking for the opposition campaign with 58% of residents reporting support for the measure, 34% reporting disapproval, and 8% saying they were undecided.

Our efforts over the course of a six-week marketing blitz focused on two targets. First we focused our budget on displaying a series of six video ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Associated Apps to identity-resolved registered voters in the city. The videos sought to educate voters on the possible negative aspects of a Yes vote. After ensuring our most important audience had seen the message multiple times we broadened communication to everyone in city limits to create a buzz around what was happening.

The ads got people talking. With multiple issues being raised we moved more than the 8-12% of undecided voters that prior polling had identified, we actually changed minds when is came to Issue 48. By the end of Election Day we persuaded 17-26% of voters who were definitely supporters of the issue two months prior to shift their opinions and vote in opposition to the issue.

The No on Issue 48 campaign demonstrated the power of targeted social media to identify voters and deliver messages precisely to those who are most likely respond in ways that can change a campaign.