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  • 014: How to run Political Advertising campaigns on 𝕏

014: How to run Political Advertising campaigns on 𝕏

This past week, my 𝕏 ads agency had a pretty big win.

Our first political advertising client won his primary campaign.

I started working with Brian Lenney, a State Senator from Idaho a couple of months ago. He was running for reelection in his district. And he had a small budget he wanted to spend on 𝕏.

We came up with a game plan. We wanted to test out a number of creative types of see what would make the biggest impact.

I’m happy to report back that Brian won his primary, by a convincing 11% margin.

It was a slightly smaller margin than his previous election. But here’s the crazy part…

His competition spent over $500,000 in ads to try to unseat him.

We spent $2,451.04 on 𝕏 ads. He also did some direct mail and other in-person methods of campaigning. But it was nowhere near the amount of funds spent by his opposition. If my math is correct, the opposition spent about $2,000 per vote moved.

We’ll take the W.

Now, a couple of things…

  • 𝕏 ads are OBVIOUSLY not the only reason why he won. (No shit. You don’t need to reply back and tell me this.)

  • Brian is popular in his district and has done incredible work in his tenure in the State Senate.

Still, I was pumped to be a part of the campaign and have the opportunity to work in the political space.

My team and I came on with about seven weeks to get ready for the primary. So I wanted to break the campaign into two phases:

  1. Positioning

  2. Call to action

The Positioning Phase

We used a series of ads that highlighted Brian’s record, performance, and platform. The goal was to SHOW people how he was different (and better) than his competitor:

Talking Head Videos

Talking head videos are great. It’s a “down to Earth” approach that resonates with real people. Not every video has to look like a TV commercial. This is a framework any political campaign can use.

We posted this video organically and then turned it into an ad campaign in the ads manager.

Highlighting Specific Policy Wins

This is a zero sum game with only two players. So you have to state your case why your policies are different (and better).

Comparison ads work better earlier, I think. It gives people a chance to gather the info they need well before they head to the polls. If a voter doesn’t know what you stand for, they’re not going to vote for you.

They also need to know what you DON’T stand for.

Very similar to if you’re selling a physical product, piece of software, course, service, etc.

Memes, Memes, and more Memes.

Every politician should be using memes. Memes are contagious, by definition. They catch our attention. They are how ideas spread online.

We turned a few organic meme posts into ads. This one worked well.

The meme grabs attention and the copy explains the position.

Professionally Produced Videos

Brian had a couple of professionally produced videos. We ran this (and all the others above) as engagement ads.

The goal was to get as many people as possible to watch these videos. I’ve learned that the more time a prospect spends watching your videos, the more likely they are to convert.

When I was Jeff Walker’s copywriter, I was amazed how he could convert total strangers into customers in two weeks flat, where they’d spend at least $2,000 for his program.

I finally realized that if someone committed to watching 2-4 hours of you on video (and you can solve a problem for them), conversion got a lot easier.

Video views are key.

An Open Letter to Nampa

This one performed really well.

This was a letter Brian wrote, where he unpacked his policies and beliefs. It was six tweets long, a thread.

You think “people don’t read stuff anymore.”

Well…

Judging by the engagement numbers on this ad, I don’t agree.

This was one of our best performers.

It’s literally an 𝕏vertorial… a concept I taught you about a few newsletters ago.

I TOLD YOU THESE THINGS WORK

The Call To Action Phase

As we got closer to voting day, we changed the style and strategy of the ads.

I felt like we did a good job of broadcasting Brian’s policies, record, and positioning. So now It was time to issue a strong call to action (a key element of any direct response style campaign) and drive people to the polls.

This was the “Hero” video… the main campaign video summing up why Brian is the right choice. We ran this (and the next few ads) with a reach objective, to put it in front of as many people as possible, as we got closer to the big day.

Drain The Boise Swamp

This static style is simple and straightforward. Again, we used a reach objective.

Tagline, CTA, date.

A few days beforehand is NOT the time for long form policy statements.

It doesn’t get more direct than this. Go here, do this.

Simple.

Conclusion

I like political ad campaigns. I hope to work on many more.

It’s a slightly different game than a typical DTC acquisition funnel. You have to orchestrate the messaging in the right sequence. You have to test multiple pieces of creative and look at the data to see what’s resonating.

You look at your spend, your impressions, and your engagement.

The data doesn’t lie.

Brad Parscale did an excellent job with Donald Trump in 2016 because him and his team split tested the shit out of every piece of creative they had.

They also benefited from being in the “Golden Age” of Meta.

However…

We haven’t even begun the “Golden Age of 𝕏” yet.

We’re just getting started.

Anyway…

Hope you liked this issue. It’s slightly different from the usual “how to” stuff I post, but I wanted to break down a campaign and take you behind the scenes of how my team and I do things.

Last thing:

If you know a politician who has a big race coming up and they need help with 𝕏, please forward them this email.

I’m looking to take on a few more clients.

Most “full service digital agencies” have no idea what they’re doing on 𝕏. Most political ad agencies have no idea how to optimize for this platform.

And obviously, if you’re not a politician, but you need help with 𝕏 ads… just hit reply and we can talk.

Chris Orzechowski

P.S.

Here’s a testimonial from Brian Lenney:

I recruited Chris to spearhead my X ads when they were a virtually untapped strategy—while everyone else was still hemorrhaging cash on Facebook. With Chris's expertise, we didn't just outplay my opponent; we dominated entirely new audiences and achieved a level of exposure that Facebook or any other platform couldn't touch. Chris is more than a sharp copywriter; he's a marketing genius, and his insights are worth their weight in gold. 

- Brian Lenney (Idaho State Senate, District 13, 2024)