Small Country Uses Big Data to Drive Historic Vote


On November 30, 2014 the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM) won the most votes among the three leading pro-European parties in the Moldova parliamentary election. PLDM’s forceful advocacy of a European future for Moldova helped boost the party’s vote and expand public acceptance of a European path. The three pro-European parties together won a plurality of the vote, which should give these parties a majority of seats in the new parliament, and the ability to form a new pro-European government.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner was proud to work with PLDM on its 2014 campaign – as it had on the party’s successful 2010 campaign. An important and innovative element in the 2014 campaign was use of GQR’s first-of-its-kind digital campaign for PLDM, including the use of our newest social targeting and outreach program, our proprietary “Social Canvass.”

Social Canvass enabled PLDM to generate targeted Facebook ads and personalized, authentic, direct Facebook messages from PLDM supporters to PLDM target voters who are their friends on Facebook.  Social Canvass made it possible for PLDM to create a model of virtually all Facebook users in Moldova, determine their likelihood of supporting PLDM, and then find the best ways to reach and motivate them. 

GQR’s Social Canvass program also made it possible to identify over 100,000 Facebook users in the Moldovan Diaspora, who are a crucial voting block (over 70,000 of them voted this year), and to generate a separate stream of targeted Facebook ads to this group as well.

All targeting was informed by a proprietary predictive model using millions of individual data points from Moldovan Facebook users. By combining personalized messages with targeted online ads, PLDM produced a demonstrable persuasion affect among target voters.

Results

Targeting enables efficient use of resources.  First, Social Canvass enabled PLDM to target its online resources much more efficiently.  Without it, PLDM’s spending on Facebook advertising would have gone overwhelmingly to reach voters who already support PLDM – which would mostly have been a waste of time and money.  But with Social Canvass, PLDM was able to target the majority of its Facebook ad spending on reaching target voters – those who were not yet supporting PLDM, but were demonstrably open to doing so.

 

Combination of personalized messages and Facebook ads drives persuasion.

 

 Second, GQR’s Social Canvass program produced a verifiable persuasion effect.  As the table below shows:

  • When target voters on Facebook received no contact from PLDM through the Social Canvass program (a control group we created), only 4% “liked” any PLDM content during a 3 week observation period. 
  • When these voters received only Facebook ads (which might occur with conventional online strategies), still only 15% of them ultimately liked PLDM content, within 3 weeks of the ad. 
  • But when target voters received both a personalized message from a Facebook friend, coordinated through Social Canvass, and then had those messages reinforced with targeted Facebook ads, fully 41% of them liked PLDM content within 3 weeks of receiving the personalized message and reinforcing ad.
 
 

Targeting hard-to-reach groups: Diaspora outreach contributes to surge in voting.  In every country, there is a premium on reaching key voting blocs – often blocs that are hard to reach. In Moldova, one such group is the Diaspora vote – the hundreds of thousands of Moldovans who live outside the country, but are still legally able to vote at Moldovan embassies and other designated locations in their country of residence. As the map shows, this population is dispersed all around the globe, although the vast majority reside in Russia and Europe.

In the 2010 election, nearly half of the tens of thousands of Diaspora voters who cast ballots voted for PLDM. In the 2014 election, a key objective for PLDM was to increase turnout of Diaspora voters.

To support this effort, GQR used its Social Canvass program to identify Moldovan voters on Facebook who were living outside Moldova, and then to send them specially designed ads, aimed at increasing their awareness of Diaspora voting procedures, and boosting their motivation to cast a vote. 

The results were dramatic.  Even though overall turnout declined by about one percentage point between 2010 and 2014, the number of Diaspora votes increased by about 12 percent.

Visit socialcanvassing.com to find out more.