Texting for Persuasion and ID Work


Engaged in persuasion advertising for an incumbent U.S. Senator in the 2020 election cycle, we used text messaging as an important part of our efforts, with over 600,000 messages sent. 

Our approach was two-fold: 

Use texting to create higher-value touch points with the voters we needed to persuade.

Use texting to fine-tune our data and make every dollar we spend smarter.

Over the course of the cycle, texting became an integral part of our work to reach and persuade custom-modeled audiences, and deliver messages directly to voters’ text inboxes, tailored to their individual interests.

Texting for Persuasion

The campaign used micro-targeted lists for their persuasion efforts, meaning that our messaging could be tailored to the interests and political preferences of each individual. We used these custom lists in our online advertising platforms, and used the same lists for our texting outreach, meaning that individuals saw the same messaging from the Senator on their social media feeds, on their streaming platforms, and in their text message inbox. 

If a user saw a 30-second video ad on social media, we made sure they were served follow-up cutdowns of the same messaging, along with graphics supporting the ad’s main points. Texting served as an effective method of increasing our frequency and doubling down on our message. 

Text Message ID Work

We also used text messaging to ID members of each custom audience. We reached out to members of each audience, from “In the Bank,” to “Completely Opposed”  with a simple question: “Are you planning to vote for our candidate?”

We used this data to help understand which voters we need to ramp up our persuasion efforts with, and where we can pull back and save resources. We also funneled individual response data back to our micro-targeting partners to help fine-tune their audiences.

We were able to ID over 15,000 members of our audience, at costs as low as $1.61 per ID.

We also were able to measure a significant pickup of voters in our camp, who we did not expect to be. For example, over 20% of the opposed audience came back as being a voter who favored our candidate.

This campaign confirmed what we know to be true: Texting has an outsized role in any campaign, across both persuasion and acquisition efforts.