2020 Presidential Digital Marketing Strategies Compared

by | Aug 3, 2020

TL;DR – Key Takeaways:

  • Know your audience – SEO research should indicate which demographics would best respond to your message.
  • There is no one part of digital marketing that is more important than the other, they should all work together.
  • Most ad platforms have made it quite difficult to publish political ads, but that has not stopped everyone.
  • Testing everything is crucial, from CTAs, ad copy, and everything else in between.

Table of contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Web Design
  3. SEO
  4. Facebook Ads
  5. Paid Search Ads
  6. Ad Copy
  7. Ad Targeting
  8. Conclusion

Introduction

Not only is the upcoming presidential election a pivotal moment in the history of our country, it will also be the first presidential election in American history where the candidates’ respective digital marketing spends will each cross the billion-dollar mark.

‍ Due to the pandemic, the playing field has been leveled for candidates in non-presidential races to come in and have a fighting chance as well.  Although these new circumstances did not exist in time for certain candidates to take advantage of it due to the respective primary rules of their states, this much remains true: one needs to have a strong digital marketing presence to take advantage of this unprecedented occasion.

Because of COVID-19, we are also seeing three times the amount spent on digital ads compared to previous elections.  Typically, most digital presidential campaigning was done through TV, which made it difficult (although not impossible) to ignore.  But now, digital marketing affects every single one of us, from social media ads to email marketing, impossible to escape while we’re all stuck at home.

Never before in history has social media and digital marketing techniques been used at such an intense level.  Every facet of American life feels like it’s constantly on the line.

Each candidate and their teams have a unique approach for how they go about campaigning, especially when it comes to digital marketing.  We’ve broken down the tactics that each of them respectively uses when it comes to web design, SEO, paid ads, and more.

Web Design

First impressions are everything, and one of the best ways to utilize this is through a campaign website. If they have a poorly designed website, no one will want to visit it. No one will buy their merchandise, no one will sign up for their email listserv, no one will donate, no one will look up campaign events and nobody will do the various other miscellaneous things that need doing for a campaign to successfully cross the finish line.

Biden’s Campaign Site

When you first reach Biden’s website, instead of a small popup like the one on Trump’s website, you are greeted with a full-screen popup asking you for a donation.  From what I have seen this is the only popup that he has on his website. It has an important CTA and they make it easy for you to donate.



Joe Biden Presidential Candidate Website Homepage

Biden’s Website Popup

Once you reach his website, one notices that it has a similar layout to Trump’s website.  This makes pragmatic sense from a marketing standpoint.  Here, Biden is trying to build a sense of community and is keeping it quite simple with single-sentence copy. Biden has the most comprehensive homepage consisting of quotes, videos, CTAs, and a litany other engagement factors.

Joe Biden Website
Biden’s Homepage

Jorgensen’s Campaign Site

Jorgensen’s campaign website does not have a popup.  From a marketing standpoint, this would appear to be a significant missed opportunity because pop-ups tend to have a high conversion rate (CVR) and are extremely easy to set up. Other than that there isn’t anything particularly remarkable about her website. The depth of her content isn’t particularly detailed, but considering how new her website is, this is entirely understandable.  On the home page, she has virtually the same CTAs as Biden does, albeit with slightly different formatting.

Jo Jorgensen Presidential Candidate Libertarian Website Homepage
Jorgensen’s Homepage

Trump’s Campaign Site

Trump’s team has done a really good job with web design – no matter the time of day that you go to his website, there is always a popup.  If an important meeting or rally is going on, you will either get the live feed or a way to watch it.  If there isn’t something going on at that given moment, you’ll get a call-to-action (CTA) letting you know of an offer, future rally, sign up, donation opportunity, and so on.

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One of Trump’s Website Popups

Once you either click out or fill out the popup, you are greeted by more CTAs.  Similar to Biden’s site, the copy on Trump’s website aims to build a sense of community among his supporters while engaging them to attend events and donate through single-sentence copy. There are about five CTAs on this area of the homepage alone.  The goal of these CTAs is to persuade the user to action instead of idle browsing.