Optimizing Voter Targeting to Help a National Patient Advocacy Organization Win an Important Election

BlueLabs’ persuasion and media optimization algorithms yield measurable gains for a national advocacy organization working to defeat a pro-Pharma candidate.

Healthcare and the increasing costs of prescription drugs dominated the 2018 midterm election cycle. Candidates and organizations across the country ran campaigns on the issue, and our client – a national patient advocacy organization – was no exception.

Faced with rising favorability of a pro-Pharma candidate in a high profile election, our client wanted to engage voters on the issue, but lacked the budget for broadcast TV in very expensive TV markets. In addition, it had a tight 2.5 week timeline before launching ads. It needed a fast, agile, and cost-effective approach to get the job done.

BlueLabs deployed quickly to meet the challenge, creating a cable and digital optimized advertising program to reach the most persuadable voters. We did this by deploying a survey-based experiment and using survey results to build persuasion models that identified the most receptive voters for each of our client’s messages. We also identified cable systems and zip codes that contained the greatest number of persuasion targets for all of the client’s media, while leveraging our proprietary media consumption models.

After the ad program was launched, we conducted a multi-mode re-survey to test the impact of our client’s advertising. Respondents in the control group (who did not see our client’s advertising) increased their support for the pro-Pharma candidate by 3.0%. Meanwhile, support among respondents in the treatment group (who did see our client’s advertising) only increased 0.3%, resulting in a treatment effect of -2.7% – an important and statistically significant effect in a close race.

The demonstrated success of our targeted approach enabled our client to obtain additional funding, which allowed them to expand their program. Our analysis indicated that our client’s advertising program likely impacted overall vote choice in this high profile election, which culminated in the defeat of the pro-Pharma candidate.