The Client’s Challenge:
The State of Alaska Department of Revenue is responsible for the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) distributed to Alaska residents each year. They wanted a campaign for the 2019 filing season that promoted their online application and educated the public about changes to the application in general as well as opportunities for Alaska residents to participate in the University of Alaska College Savings Program, Pick.Click.Give, and the new Education Raffle.
The goal was to reach as many Alaska residents as possible. In the past, the PFD had used radio spots and a saturation mailer, but they were open to other ideas. Our strategy was to minimize the radio and mailer budget, pulling it over into digital advertising on Facebook and Google display advertising. With almost 80% of Alaskans using Facebook, we wanted to reach our target audience where they spent the most of their time. That said, we kept the mailer for older demographics and those communities that did not have easy access to the internet.
We launched the PFD campaign in two phases, the first to focus on the primary objectives of the campaign and the second to bring in a reminder to apply in our messaging as applications opened and as we got closer to the deadline. The first phase took place during 2018.
In the first phase, we ran all ads and collateral—Facebook, Google display advertising, video, radio, mailer, and landing page (PFD2019.com)—with the message, “What’s New with the PFD?” We broke our messaging down into three sub-messages, “File It Faster,” “Get It Sooner,” and “Take It Further” to focus on the changes to the PFD, the benefits of applying online, and the three programs respectively. For the UA College Savings Program we used the call-toaction, “Further Your Future,” for Pick.Click.Give, “Further Our Community,” for the Education Raffle, “Further Their Education.”
Our ads were geotargeted, with four separate ads for the Southeast, the North Slope, Central and West Alaska, as well as the Aleutian Chain and the Pribilof islands. We used breathtaking imagery from each of the Alaska regions we ran the ads in to catch the eye of our audiences. In our copy across the campaign, we used clear, pithy statements that drove home the intended messages as quickly as possible.
The Amazing Results:
All of our Facebook ads achieved a relevance score of 10 (with the exception of one, which had a score of 9), indicating that they were perfect for our target audience. In total, they received 493,980 impressions and had a reach of 138,846 people, with 14,319 link clicks at a budget of $3,000. The average cost per link click (CPC) was $0.21, 87.8% lower than the national average of $1.72. The average click-through rate (CTR) was 2.9%, which is 322.2% higher than the national average of 0.9%. Our PSA-style video ad was particularly impressive, accounting for 155,101 of the impressions. See next page for additional results.
On the Google side, we achieved 940,057 impressions and 8,508 clicks on a budget of $3,186.51. The average CPC was $0.37, 41.3% less than the national average for Google display ads, which is $0.63. The average CTR was 0.91%, 197.8% higher than the national average for Google display ads, which is 0.46%.
As of the writing of this article, over 300,000 Alaskans had already applied online. Overall, we were able to get the word out to as many Alaska residents as possible. The PFD office loved our approach and considered the campaign a great success!