THG Digital “Homing” Platform for Precise Online Targeting in the Time of COVID-19

By Todd Van Etten, Chief Digital Officer

Being a public affairs firm that serves highly regulated industry sectors we’re most often asked to target our digital ad campaigns to reach very specific elected officials, VIP individuals or groups of people that have a unique impact on public policy and political outcomes, and often those at the grassroots levels. And one common and potent way to reach these people is through geotargeting: we know that most of our predefined audiences will be at a specific physical office building during normal business hours. If there is a public event or major meeting that requires them to be at a different location, then in most cases we know this information too and target them accordingly. In traditional advocacy settings, we’re able to easily set a “radius” around defined audience locations and target our messages to anyone in that physical location.

Today, however, we are living and working in an unprecedented environment.

So, with this tactic largely removed from our targeting quiver, how do we continue to ensure message-centric ads and calls to action reach high-value policymakers, regulators, senior staff, industry stakeholders and key influencers wherever they are?

Fortunately, we provide such a solution, what we call the THG Digital Homing Platform. This platform provides a layered advertising solution across digital display, digital video and paid content promotion utilizing data directly from our defined audiences that is precise, impactful and cost-effective.

We leverage this platform for clients during normal times as a way to engage, mobilize and nurture key VIP audiences by “homing” in on their subsequent physical locations. But, with policymakers and most Americans alike working remotely under the constraints of COVID-19 this approach now serves as an even more important means to communicate with intended audiences. 

Here is how THG’s Digital Homing Platform works:

Assess Historical Geotargeting Data

  • We’re able to identify people and devices that were in a certain location in the past and target them today.
  • Whether at a finite moment in time, such as a few hours in a certain location when an important meeting occurred (hearing, a key vote, rally, etc.) or more broadly, anyone who entered the US Capitol or a state capital building in the previous six months
  • We’re also able to combine these segments to further refine the audience beyond just key demographics. For example, we can reach those who frequent the US Capitol and the Louisville, Kentucky airport or the Wisconsin State Capital in Madison and the headquarters of a specific company.

Apply Demographic, Attribute, and Interest Targeting Criteria

  • We utilize complex data sets to derive models of what certain targets look like online, then deploy message-centric ads and calls to action to those groups.
  • These target audiences could also be broad, such as people who consume financial news, or much more specific, such as financial policy advisors. Similar to geotargeting, we are able to combine these to get as specific as we need to ensure we’re hitting just the right people.

Implement Digital Homing Platform Campaign

  • We work with your team to develop messages and imagery that we know will convert at the highest rate (based on message testing and best practices) and send everything for your approval.
  • We employ a multi-channel digital approach – video, display, social—to hit our targets as many times as we can over a finite amount of time.
  • We report back on a variety of metrics like ad impressions, clicks, reach, and frequency, as well as on-the-ground intelligence such as VIP influencers, talking about your ad or movement they cause in legislative houses.

At THG we enjoy making the art of the possible a reality when it comes to digital engagement. Let’s have a conversation on how we can help your organization meet its objectives in these unprecedented times and when things return back to normal.