In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, several major social media platforms threw up their hands and said they would not run political ads.
While these companies hold on to that promise, a handful of them are making exceptions for ads that promote civic engagement, including Voting Efforts (GOTV).
It’s another inconsistency in the way these platforms monitor themselves, even in cases where they largely match.
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, stated last fall that “political message reach should be earned, not bought” when the platform banned political ads. It still allows civic engagement and “promoting social justice” ads, but limits the targeting capabilities for those ads that are normally allowed to others.
Pinterest recently went a step further and prevented ads from running alongside political content. However, GOTV advertisements are permitted provided they come from a non-partisan source. LinkedIn and Twitch, Another platform that recently banned political ads said the same thing.
Conversely, TikTok does not receive political ads or advertisements related to voter registration or voter awareness, but uses its own feeds (like other platforms) to promote its own voter registration efforts.
However, some agencies and their clients see value in placing their GOTV messages on these platforms.
A new GOTV advertising campaign by the non-partisan and non-profit Education Fund of the Leadership Conference started last weekend on Twitch and will run until election day.
Bully Pulpit Interactive, the liberal advertising agency behind the GOTV campaign, sees Twitch as a way to reach a more diverse audience that distorts men, said Amy Garland, the agency’s media director.
Twitch, Amazon’s own streaming platform best known for its gaming and esports content, doesn’t allow political ads but does allow GOTV messages paid for by “impartial” organizations, according to a spokeswoman Brielle Villablanca from Twitch, who added these ads constitute a “very small fraction of our total advertising”.
Bully Pulpit Interactive is new to using the platform as part of a GOTV campaign, but the performance of this campaign could shed some light on how it invests in the future. It is the first time the agency has “made significant investments in Twitch as a GOTV platform” after making a “very small” purchase in 2018 for Tom Steyer-supported nonprofit NextGen America.
“At this point in the cycle, one of the most important things about GOTV, or voter attention, is that it doesn’t feel like a political ad,” Garland said, noting the game-centric design of the ad, which the agency created specifically for Twitch. “A lot of people are burned out right now, especially given the activity of this cycle.”
Aside from the creative elements of the ad, placement itself on Twitch can matter if audiences aren’t expecting it to appear there, Garland added, as long as it feels like a “seamless experience” and “something they do on a regular basis would consume “.
Majority Strategies, a conservative agency, did not run GOTV ads on Twitter, Pinterest, or Twitch in some cases because “targeting and inventory restrictions make them simply not good for voter contact,” said Reid Vineis, vp Digital at the agency .