The (Almost) Paperless Campaign

Paper has long been an important tool in political campaigns. Centuries after Benjamin Franklin used his printing press to shape our republic, direct mail and other printed materials still account for a large portion of every campaign budget. In 2016, digital advertising might finally end the reign of paper in politics.

In contrast to broadcast television, direct mail pieces can be highly targeted, sent to targeted voters with a mailing address. This is great for particular kinds of messaging, but still carries the risk of waste.

For example, will the mail piece actually be seen by the targeted voter? Or will it be stuffed into the trash with the offers for car insurance and credit card applications? With mail, there is no way to know for sure!

In a mailing of 50,000 pieces, you hope that (optimistically) 5,000 will actually be seen by someone other than the mailman. Assuming an average cost of $0.42/piece, your campaign just set $18,900 on fire.

Digital advertising offers distinct advantages over direct mail. New voter targeting technologies ensures that only the intended voters are served your display or video ad. Your ads can reach them even if they have moved elsewhere in the district or put the wrong zip code on their voter registration form.

Digital is also accountable in ways that paper and broadcast are not. Advanced analytics allow us to track results in real time, beyond just clicks. You can see how many times a display ad was served to your target audience, or how many viewed a video ad to completion. You can even track how many hovered their mouse cursor over an ad while they read it!

Paper offers none of these advantages to a campaign. So on this Earth Day, slash your paper waste. Go digital for your voter contact!

Thomas Roberts is the Digital Engagement Manager for The Prosper Group. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @thomasjpr.

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