How COVID-19 is Impacting Digital Campaigns | Pacific Campaign House

How COVID-19 is Impacting Digital Campaigns

Digital organizing, enter stage left:

When it comes to political and advocacy campaigns, it might feel like budgets, win strategies, and fundraising projections are out the window at the moment. So in the middle of COVID-19, we’re providing some of updates and challenges we’re seeing across the board as well as how we at Pacific Campaign House plan to stay focused on leveraging digital outreach to champion our clients and continue to captivate audiences:

  • We’re seeing slower approval times from ad platforms.
    • Waiting for Facebook or Google to review ads has never been our idea of a good time. But with a reduced workforce and remote working, we can expect to see a longer-than-usual wait time for approvals. 
    • Our best tip: Plan ahead as much as you can. The longer runway you have before you need to launch a campaign, the better. And if you’re new to running a paid digital program, that means you should also budget in extra time to get your ad account verified for political ads. 
  • With in-person field programs all but out of the picture, campaigns are shifting resources to digital outreach and organizing.
    • If your campaign had a massive field program, it’s time to start thinking about changing strategies. We might be biased, but we know it’s true:  Compared to the cost/time it takes to develop new TV or radio spots, digital is your best bet for voter outreach/advocacy/education/engagement over these next few weeks. 
    • Our best tip: Right now, campaigns more or less have a captive audience. Think about where your voters and potential supporters are spending their time online and meet them there. Do you have a campaign video you can run on OTT (Roku, Amazon Firestick…etc.) or YouTube? If so, now is the time to jump to those platforms. If Italy was any example, their early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak saw streaming across YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and Mixer grow by 66%. 
  • This could be organic content’s apotheosis. 
    • We can’t emphasize this enough: Right now campaigns have the nearly undivided attention of voters. And for campaigns who might not have the resources to spend on paid media, they could be in luck. User-generated content on platforms like Pinterest (which historically hasn’t taken political ads) are seeing a boom — looking for the latest Instant Pot recipe? Look no further. If you’re an environmental org, build your name recognition by offering up 10 ways to protect the environment while sheltering-in-place. If you’re a candidate with young children, post about how to talk to your kids about voting.
    • Our best tip: Try your hand at generating organic content on some of the less conventional platforms to build name recognition and credibility during these hands-off times. 
  • Corporations are holding their advertising budgets. 
    • What that means for political and advocacy campaigns is that this drop in demand means there’s more inventory — and if we take a quick trip back to high school economics class: when the supply remains steady and the demand drops, prices go down. 
    • Our best tip: Jump, jump, jump on it! If your campaign or organization has the resources to expand your digital budget, now is the time.