Utilizing New Platforms to Mobilize Voters for Unprecedented Results

The City and County of Denver

Denver Elections: Digital Marketing Campaign


The City and County of Denver Elections Division and Denver Marketing Office hired AOR to develop and execute a multi-channel marketing campaign during the 2016 general election. The 2016 election was Colorado’s first presidential election completed primarily with mail-in ballots. AOR set out to create a memorable and compelling campaign that was simultaneously informative and fun. One of the campaign’s objectives was to decrease the number of inactive voters by having them update their addresses. The goals for active voters included raising awareness of mail-in ballots, encouraging them to sign up for the Ballot TRACE program, and dropping off ballots early.


AOR kicked off the project with a comprehensive discovery session with key stakeholders to fully understand the target audiences as well as the client’s goals for the campaign. Following the discovery session, AOR developed three dynamic concepts and tested their effectiveness through email and Facebook ads. Ultimately, “Home is Where the Vote Is” had the highest click-through rate and lowest cost per click and was identified as the most powerful campaign concept.


Two campaign videos were created and advertised on YouTube pre-roll and Hulu in-program platforms. Both video placements performed well above industry standards with the Hulu ads showing an unheard-of 98.98% completion rate.



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Facebook Ads

AOR created Facebook ads communicating the ease of mail ballots to both inactive and active voters. A dozen different creative messages were developed for the ads to coincide with Denver-centric events such as cheering for the Broncos football team. This social ad campaign was the first of its kind for a United States Elections Division and reached almost 200,000 people in the Denver metro area.


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Snapchat Ads

The Denver Elections Division was the first in the nation to utilize this social media channel for any campaign. Snapchat geofilters were used to fill the void of the coveted “I Voted” stickers that mail-in voters did not receive. Also, this channel was specifically chosen to help reach more millennial voters.


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Display Ads

Accompanying display ads were created in varying sizes and placed on pertinent websites with remarketing as well as keyword targeting. All ads either performed at or well above industry standards for click-through rate (CTR) on both desktop and mobile.




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Email Marketing

Four emails were sent to each audience throughout the four-month-long campaign. The emails had a successful ROI with a 15.09% open rate and a 2.66% click rate, which is right at the government industry standard. Many of the emails were opened and shared more than once by the recipients.


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The Outcome

The Denver Elections Division reported several positive metrics with the marketing and advertising efforts during the 2016 election.

Users on the Ballot TRACE program rose to over 130,000 people from approximately 50,000 in 2015. Website visits rose to more than 400,000 compared to 240,000 during the last general election in 2012.

The campaign was not only successful by advertising and marketing standards but was recognized as a groundbreaking campaign in the elections industry. Elections Divisions across the nation have never advertised on social media until Denver in 2016 and only four other cities have ever purchased display ads for similar campaigns.

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of all active voters participated in the election


of participating voters used a mail in ballot