Julie Johnson For Congress
Case Study

2024 Primary Election

How We Cleared a Crowded Primary to Avoid a Runoff

Representative Julie Johnson entered the race for Texas’ 32nd Congressional District with a commanding background and record – but we knew that the race would come with strong competitors eager to fill the open seat. Early polling showed a tight race between Julie and her opponents. COMPETE provided the campaign with every Digital aspect from start to finish – Website, Fundraising, Social Media management, and a complex Digital Ads program. Our work helped Julie clear the pack to avoid a runoff and head straight to the November ballot.

We broke down our work for Julie into three phases:

Phase 1

Website and Campaign Launch

New race, new district, new website! We rolled out an entirely fresh, bilingual website for Julie’s campaign launch, focusing on her accomplishments, personal story, and donation impacts. 

To ensure Julie’s campaign launch garnered critical support and attention, we also kicked things off with a strong Pre-Launch Email Acquisition. Working with the campaign, we were able to find new potential donors by selecting the highest ROI donor acquisition partners and targeting parameters, creating a list that delivered and continues to deliver. 

That list, our ability to honestly and earnestly capture Julie’s voice and story, folding texting into our early program, and leveraging high-dollar donors who are typically ignored during a campaign’s launch delivered results: The campaign announced an astonishing $410,000 End of Quarter raise, with $47,000 coming from COMPETE’s Digital Fundraising program.

Phase 2

Fundraising and Social

Building on the success of our kick-off fundraising push, we developed a robust email calendar to ensure momentum stayed high from launch all the way through Election Day.

Our team built an email template that followed the campaign’s visual guidelines, crafted authentic language in Julie’s natural voice, and diversified our messages with events, direct asks, and varied senders. We also ensured the best possible deliverability by setting up the campaign’s DKIM and SPF records and rolling out the email program in batches to ensure that every recipient saw our emails. Our carefully segmented lists, welcoming series, and rewarming cadences ensured donors were hit with asks at the exact right moment. We also intermingled a high ROI ongoing texting program with our email efforts: Over 1/3rd of all donations came through texts.

Social Media Management

Organic social media is a phenomenal tool to grow a campaign’s most activated supporter base, but a massive time suck for the campaign team. The Julie for Congress campaign realized early on that a regular, thoughtful, and brand-driven presence on social media would be a benefit as the race became more crowded and the need to break out of the pack with dedicated Dems became a clear part of the path to victory. 

Our team of Social Media experts crafted a posting calendar that made it easy for the busy campaign team to review and edit content. Our weekly meetings ensured that critical campaign moments were backed up with organic social posts and occasional content boosts.

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Phase 3

Digital Ads

Play Video

Messaging and Creation

We crafted a thorough messaging matrix to run the duration of our persuasion program that, utilizing our polling information, created a cohesive and thorough series of video, native, and banner ads to propel Julie to the top of our audience’s mind. By weaving together consistent elements from Julie’s bio, experience, and known priorities within the District, our message consistently resonated with voters.

Deployment

Our strategy centered around getting paid Digital ads up early (seven weeks before the election) to a target audience of about 79,000 likely Primary voters. We decided to go wider with the Digital universe than the Mail and Field universes, which totaled around 56,000 individuals, so that we could leverage the relative affordability of Digital ads to give us coverage with folks who were less likely to turn out, but still were fairly likely to vote in the March 5th Primary.

The Digital program kicked off mid-January, with a slow burn to ensure that our early and vote-by-mail audience was fully saturated with our first positive piece when they went to the polls. During this time, we were serving about 91,000 ads per day.

We then ramped up our delivery with a second positive Message Treatment, upping our delivery to approximately 129,000 ads per day. Shortly after, we deployed a “dual track” and layered on a Pushback Message Treatment to counter the negative information spread by our main opponent–bringing our daily delivery to an estimated 230,000 ads served per day. When the second positive Message Treatment fully saturated our audience, we swapped in a third and final positive Message Treatment to carry us through to Election Day.

Over the final two weeks before the election, we expanded to CTV platforms like Hulu, Roku, and Sling, allowing us to throttle up to a heavy 263,000 ads per day. These platforms, while not as efficient and more expensive, still provide high-quality inventory when used wisely. We chose to go full force in the final two weeks when voters are activated and get the most meaningful impressions out of the expansion

Behind the scenes, our best-in-the-business tech team worked tirelessly to ensure that all of Julie’s ads were getting the best value possible, maximizing ads served to our Primary voter audience and maintaining budgets.

The Digital Ad Landscape

On-Going Support and Rapid Response Capabilities

We were prepared for Julie’s top opponent to go negative at some point within the campaign, and our team was ready every time. From rapid-response web updates to a fast-turn pushback ad treatment to editing debate clips for emails and social media, every time our opponent made false or misleading claims, our response was swift and impactful.

About Julie Johnson

Julie Johnson is a defender of justice and fights for those among us who need it most. As a Texas educated attorney (Hook’Em), Julie fought her way into the courtroom during a time when women weren’t being hired to litigate cases. She has defended workers, stood up for the mentally disabled, helped students who were taken advantage of by for-profit universities, and fought for equality for female athletes.

Social Media Post Examples

Debate Clips

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