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How to use canvassing data to improve political advertising

For political consultants, campaign managers and candidates, the following article is a must read if you want to create personal messaging for potential voters using political campaign software.

Going into 2020, there is a reservation when it comes to political advertising and how best to use it without being intrusive. At Ecanvasser we want to help you build better relationships with your voters and give them the information that they actually need, not what you think they need. You can gain the insights you need simply through coordinated canvassing.

Working on a comprehensive outreach outreach plan to help gather as much useful data as possible will help in the long run. Using the information you gather, you can then form better messages for certain segments of your voters. Like I said, give people what they actually want.

Step 1: Designing a canvassing script

Great political campaigns are built through in-depth ground work. Collecting vital information at the door is what separates winning campaigns from good ones. This means asking the questions that will yield your campaign operatives the most valuable information. Why waste time asking questions that have no action points? Experienced canvassers know that time is precious when out in the field.

For all the above canvassing scripts are extremely useful. Don't think of this canvassing effort as a persuasion campaign, think about it as a fact finding mission. Here is an example of data focused canvassing script:


  • Are you voting in the upcoming election?
  • Are you aware of our candidate?
  • What is the one thing that matters to you when choosing a candidate?
  • What other issues matter to you when it comes to voting for a candidate?
  • Are you interested in volunteering with a campaign?
  • What industry do you work in?

Remember make it a postive experience and people will be more willing to share information.

How Feedback may look:

  • Yes/No
  • Yes/No
  • Views on certain policy issues, background of politician, party affiliation etc
  • Voter works in one of the following industries; service, public, private, educational, healthcare
  • May have an interest in joining your campaign as a volunteer.


This person could be

  • a potential voter
  • not interested in you or the election
  • needs more information on your candidate
  • Priority issues for certain groups
  • Secondary issues for groups
  • They work in a certain industry which you can now target

Step 2: Viewing the data back at HQ

Political campaigning is a big undertaking and by conducting face to face outreach, we can sometimes get lost in the process.

AIM: It is essential that you record actionable items where by you can use this work to help your campaign grow.

Viewing your data is one thing, understanding it is another. This is why you will want very clear and short answers to work with if possible. You can begin by filtering your data if you are using Excel or a CRM system.

Segment your data

Breaking up your data can be done based on the following data points:

Segment by:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Area of Employment
  • Issue
  • Interests
  • Volunteer interest

If you wanted to group particular segments together to get a more refined grouping to target you could use the below example for help:


  • Remember filter and segment according to your own campaign preferences.

AIM: Build digital messaging which will reach these people and help them turn out to vote and educate them on the policy matters that your candidate wants to address.

Step 3: Identifying certain segments of your voter database

Frame your campaign messaging so it underscores your strenghts, pays attention to the priorities of your voters and shows that you will make an impact if voted for.

From Block A above we can see that people living in a certain area are having issues surrounding Transport and aren't familiar with your candidate.

Key takeaway: We now need a message that will identify your candidate as someone who will address the transport crisis in this area.

From Block B: we see people within your area from the age 30-50 group are interested in education issues.

Key takeaway: Share your policy updates on this subject to address this issue.

From Block C: We have a group of people who may be interested in taking the extra step and becoming active within your campaign.

Key takeaway: We need to share messages about upcoming events and training evenings with this group.

These are only 3 very simple targets we have identified from our canvassing and yet we now need to build 3 personalised messages to share across our social platforms.

Step 4: Building personalised messages on Facebook for your campaign

For social media advertising it may be useful to have the following materials;

  • The audience you are trying to reach
  • Options of Headlines
  • Options for Taglines
  • Assets for ads
  • Budget per platform
  • Goals for advertising

Sample ad on Facebook

“After determining and targeting your audience, it is the time that you put your efforts into creating a great ad. You need to have your audience in mind, so be relevant and specific”

Begin by checking out Facebook Ad Manager, where we will be running an Awareness Ad campaign.

For our first ad, we will be focusing on reaching the people from Block A. Remember these guys were made up largely of people who didn’t know alot about your candidate but were concerned about transport where they lived.

AIM: Build an ad that will appeal to their transport concerns and also help build your candidates profile.

Start by choosing an Awareness ad:

Building a targeted audience through the following:

  • Data from Block A suggests the area we need to hit with our ad. For this example I have chosen Glendale St in Los Angeles in California.
  • We have no clear indications of what age this demographic is so leaving it open to any one above voting age should be sufficient.
  • Interests; Our data would suggest that transport was a big concern for this group. You might want to do some detailed targeting to people who are interested in public transport, bus services, trains, traffic bulletins etc.

This will help focus your Facebook and will give you a solid starting point.


We can seee from the ad above that our audience is just under 1,000 people. That may seem small but in a close race 1,000 votes is very important.


Thinking about the look of your ad

Next up you will need to think creatively about your messaging and image. Using a candidate profile photo will make he or she a familiar face among your audience. Use your headline as an opportunity to address the transport issue.


Text: Candidate Eric Thompson wants to tackle the transport issues of the Glendale people.
Website URL:
Headline: Vote for Eric Thompson
Description: Fighting to reinstate the Glendale Bus service.

As you can see from the above, we named the candidate numerous times, thus reinforcing his profile. We highlighted that one of his campaign objectives was to address the concern of people, in this case the transport issue.

Facebook advertising allows you to decide how much you want to spend on an ad run so budget can be adjusted as you go. I reccomend running the ad for 3 days and analyses the results after that. If you find that it isn't getting as many impressions or landing page views as your would have hoped, you may need to increase the audience targeting or play with the creatives.

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