Primary Election: “How To” vs. Trump Creative

While educating voters on processes has always been an important part of any voter outreach effort, it became even more important in the 2020 cycle when many voting rules were changing in response to the pandemic. With organizers being limited in what they could do in-person, digital media’s ability to be agile and change courses of action quickly played a vital role in adapting to the new realities.

During the primary, GPS Impact worked with PA Values to measure the effect of viewing two ad variations — “How To” vs. Trump — on voters’ likelihood to search for “vote by mail” terms.

The goal was to get a rough indicator of whether one of the ads would increase the voters’ interest in early voting and motivation to take steps to start the vote by mail process. The test targeted African American voters, reaching them by targeting over-indexing zip codes and content that over-indexes for African American viewership on YouTube.

Pennsylvania Values: “How To” Primary Creative
Pennsylvania Values: Trump Primary Creative

The test found that there was some indication that viewers of the “How To” videos were more likely to search for vote-by-mail terms than a control group. Overall, viewers were 50% more likely to search for “vote by mail” after seeing the ad, with the 06-second version generating the most cost-efficient results.

While the ad featuring Trump did not generate increased search volume about vote by mail, other data suggests it still has an important role in the campaign. Google’s brand lift surveys found that the Trump video was the most likely to increase the likelihood of a viewer to say they were planning to vote in the November election.

General Election: Naked Ballots 

Just weeks before the general election, a Pennsylvania court ruled that if voters forgot to include an extra “Official Election Ballot” envelope with their mail ballots, their votes would be automatically void. Called a “naked ballot,” Democrats were worried that this strict new rule would have negative consequences in what became a very important swing state. 

Partnering with Pennsylvania Values and Commonwealth Communications, we utilized digital advertising to help educate voters about this new rule. Targeting Democratic ballot requestors statewide with programmatic video placements, we used the primary test’s results to produce a “How To” video that clearly laid out the steps to mailing back a completed Pennsylvania ballot.

Pennsylvania Values

PlacementImpressions100% Videos ViewsClicks
Programmatic video6,731,2254,620,98515,689

*These results will need to be updated once all of the results from Pennsylvania are verified and available.

Pennsylvania Values: General Election “How To (Naked Ballots)” Creative