Monthly Archives :

May 2020

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Our 2020 Pollie Awards


The Association of Political Consultants’ (AAPC) recognized Raconteur Media with four 2020 Pollie Awards.

The Pollies are the most prized and sought-after awards in the political communications and public affairs industries.  A blind jury of their peers selects AAPC award winners. This year, we were thrilled to walk away with four Pollies!

The Pollie Awards recognize top achievements in political advertising. See Raconteur’s winning material below.


We reached an audience of 10,000 voters at an average of 50 times per voter. We increased her name recognition, we made her campaign competitive and reached all the voters in our target audience.


After launching the website: average session duration increased, number of users increased, number of page views increased, overall usage increased and mobile usage increased on the site.


We used digital advertising to drive traffic to a website where homeowners could calculate their property tax increase and send a letter to the county commissioners. Our advertising generated more than 2,000 letters opposing the property tax increase.


We built an audience using modeled data to build an email list, then prospected that list. We built results that the campaign was excited about.



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Voter Contact: What Voters Want

When is it ever a good time to guess how voters want to hear from your campaign?

I can’t think of a good time either. Especially, not now.

When is it ever a good time to guess if voters are hearing your message?

I can’t think of a good time, either. Especially, not now.

When you start campaigning, Raconteur knows you may need to pivot your strategy and adapt to the pandemic environment. We hope these survey results help you with your planning. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do for you.

“Thinking about candidates campaigning for the November 2020 general election, what methods do you prefer to communicate and learn about candidates who will appear on the ballot?”

Direct Mail – 35%

E-mail – 35%

Social Media – 24%

In-person gathering or event – 12%

Text Message – 8%

Someone from the campaign comes to your door – 3%

Phone Call – 2%

If you’d like to see the crosstabs or any related data to these results, contact Ryan Gravatt.

WPAi conducted the poll and its CEO Chris Wilson had this to say, “As head of Digital Strategy for Senator Cruz in his 2016 campaign for president I saw first-hand the impact of effective advertising on social media as we took advantage of the evolution of traditional campaigning. Governor Abbott further proved this in both 14 and 18 with an unmatched data-driven social media-heavy digital effort. Any campaign that ignores that evolution does so at their own peril and will ultimately fail to be competitive.”

Our clients are implementing our recommendations and they are seeing good results. We continue to see large swells of traffic and engagement across social media and Websites during the pandemic. Contact me if you’d like a consultation about how you can do a better job with your digital presence in these changing times.

The COVID-19 pandemic will change the way we campaign in 2020.

Your traditional tactics to contact voters in one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many scenarios will change.

Are you willing to change?

Are you ready to change?

Answer ‘No’ and you are risking the success of your next election.

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The Answers to our Award-Winning Digital Advertising, an Interview with Sr. Digital Director Joseph Resta

Raconteur Media is honored to walk away with four 2020 Pollie Awards from the Association of Political Consultants’ (AAPC). We received a Pollie for our sophisticated blend of digital advertising for client Dr. Anna Allred. We sat down with our Sr. Digital Director, Joseph Resta, and unpacked what it took to build this successful digital strategy.

Dr. Anna Allred had never run for office. She was running in a special election for a vacated House seat and was one of six candidates. Four of the six had already run campaigns in the district and were familiar names to the voters. What tactics were used to increase Allred’s name recognition among Republican voters before the special election?

“Like all winning campaign strategies, we started by identifying the best audience for our campaign to focus on.  By targeting advertising towards likely primary voters who were susceptible to our message, we were able to ensure the campaign’s limited budget would reach its maximum potential. After working with our data and polling partners, we created ads that not only highlighted Dr. Allred’s strongest stances on important issues but also focused on driving home her name ID. Through our creative department, we made sure her logo placement on all advertisements was predominant, so voters would not only focus on her stances but on her name, as well.  This tactic is especially critical in primary election fields that are crowded candidates promoting similar issues. Once we were confident in the creative we had produced, we purchased ad space that was most visible to the target audience. We knew what platforms our audience spent the most time on, and we drove focus in those spaces.  Again, making sure every dollar of our client’s budget gets spent in the most efficient and effective way.”

In this campaign, Raconteur helped Allred reach an audience of 10,000 voters at an average of 50 times per voter. All the voters in her target audience were reached. What was the strategy behind identifying the target audience?

“The campaign was fortunately ready to get started early.  While getting a head start is significantly better than starting late, it does present a few obstacles.  It can start to stretch the monthly ad budget pretty thin, and a thin budget doesn’t allow you to get the desired results in terms of frequency. Also, it’s possible to over saturate your audience to a point that they can start to “shrug off” the messages you are sending them.  This usually occurs towards the end of the campaign, which is the last time you want to lose your audience’s attention.  So for Dr. Allred, we started by focusing on an audience of people that could be classified as “very politically active”.  These are people who are typically dialed in the political process, maybe leaders in local party factions and do not really risk in terms of alienation through oversaturation.  By focusing on these voters early, you can hopefully win your campaign some very valuable allies for when the campaign reaches full-steam.  Campaigns the size of Dr. Allred’s do not have the budget to do the super sophisticated data modeling that you sometimes read about. So finding the exact sub-sect of voters who are most likely to choose her over her opponents is not an option.  In this case, we use historical voter data to best build an audience of voters who are most likely to vote in a special election in that district.  We then focus on targeting that audience with boat persuasion and GOTV messages down the stretch.  Budget is the main driving force of deciding what audience you are able to target, so we had to identify voters within the Likely Voter audiences who were most valuable, in order to create an audience we could afford to target at the optimal frequency.”

For video advertising, Raconteur used a combination of platforms to deliver video on social media and through streaming content platforms. What was the decision behind utilizing these platforms instead of traditional TV advertising? 

“The campaign wanted to introduce Dr. Allred to the district through video ads.  We knew the campaign’s budget situation, so while we knew they could afford to run video advertising, we wanted to make sure that those dollars were spent in a way that would reach the audience in the most effective way possible.

At Raconteur Media, we have built a partnership with a firm that created software that uses public data to help us better understand our target audience.  Using this technology we are able to get insights to our audience’s consumer habits.  Using this data paired with our knowledge of inventory pricing for TV, Social media, PreRoll, and Connected TV advertising allows us to create a video budget that builds the most cost-effective plan based on our audience’s screen preferences. 

Traditionally, campaigns have separate TV and digital buys for video content.  This software allows us to optimize a budget across all devices.  When looking at Dr. Allred’s district, we saw that our targets spent more time watching broadcast/cable, but also consumed more digital content than the national average.  Traditional TV buys were going to be expensive because her district is within the Houston Media Market, you’ll also see a lot of waste by advertising to non-target within the media market.  Our software allowed us to run our TV videos at much lower costs, with zero waste, to our targets on digital platforms.”

What was the planning behind your budget development for this campaign?

“Dialogue between a digital team and the campaign is so important when it comes to budget development. A digital advertising budget needs to work both politically and financially.  For example, if a campaign asks for a budget based on targeting an audience of 500,000 voters, we would return a budget suggestion nearing $1 million; which is way outside the realm of possibility for the majority of campaigns.  We build campaigns that either revolve around the size of an audience or the ballpark budget figure the campaign provides.  We would never produce a budget that suggests reach and frequency totals that we believe would be ineffective, so an understanding between us and the campaign eliminates the back and forth.  Dr. Allred’s campaign provided us a budget total that we were able to spend, and we built a budget that highlights how many voters we could target effectively for that amount.  Luckily, our numbers matched the campaign’s in terms of the desired audience size. We built Dr. Allred’s campaign budget out by week so the weekly totals would best reflect the political timing of the special election.  We began by targeting our Politically Active Audience with Name Id/Persuasion ads before expanding into our core audience of Likely Voters. In the week before Early Voting, we began running our Name Id/Persuasion campaign video ads.  We started these towards the end of the campaign because these video views are much more valuable right before voters head to the polls.  We ran heavy Early Voting Awareness ads, driving voters to a page that informed them of EV polling locations and schedule. We knew our audience would vote early at a high rate, so we concentrated most of our remaining budget on reaching these voters right before and on the early days of Early Voting.”


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Why You Need to Add OTT Advertising to Your Media Mix

As more people cut the cord on cable TV and make the switch to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, over-the-top (OTT) advertising is now imperative for marketers to add to their media mix. We’ve gathered resources to help you understand OTT advertising and it’s increasing importance in the digital marketing space. 


Let’s start by defining OTT advertising:

What is OTT and why marketers need to add it to their media mix 


According to Forbes, Politicians are turning to OTT Advertising for better targeting, brand safety, and a broad reach:

Politicians Turn To Ad-Supported OTT For Better Targeting, Brand Safety And Bigness

Digital ad spending is expected to more than double in 2020 compared to the last presidential election with OTT experiencing especially sharp growth: 

How Political Campaigns Can Leverage A New Media Platform


Free streaming services are rising in popularity over subscription video. The rise of these services shows that there’s still an appetite for advertising if it’s relevant:

Free streaming services begin to challenge subscription video

Streaming video has shot up dramatically in the U.S. since late February 2020, as more people turn to their screens for comfort during the nationwide coronavirus:

Streaming spikes during coronavirus

Recent data shows US adults have spent more time accessing the internet and are doing away with traditional TV: 

US Adults Spend More Time Accessing the Internet and Apps on Their Smartphones Than Watching Traditional TV

According to the New York Times more than 15.7 million people signed up for Netflix in the first three months of the year, when the coronavirus started to disrupt daily life around the world. That was a record for the streamer, according to its first-quarter earnings announcement on Tuesday:

Everyone You Know Just Signed Up for Netflix

According to the Wall Street Journal, Disney+ has seen its subscriber count soar since the COVID-19 shutdown. To keep subscribers hooked, Disney has moved some big theatrical releases to Disney+ ahead of schedule:

Disney+ in a Programming Crunch Due to Coronavirus Shutdown


If you have any questions or thoughts about implementing OTT in your digital campaign, please reach out to us.


Make An Appointment to Discuss Streaming TV Advertising with Raconteur

Take your digital campaign across all platforms. Make an appointment to talk with a Raconteur Media Specialist about implementing Streaming TV Advertising to your media mix.

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