A grassroots advertising platform for personalized political ads.
Company: CrowdCampaign | Role: Co-founder
After CItizen’s United, the co-founder of adBrite (Gidon Wise) and I created a new kind of advertising platform to allow anyone to use advertising dollars to promote political candidates and causes important to them.
- Will our target demographic of politically engaged millenials respond to the value proposition?
- Can we make the complexities of online advertising understandable?
Interview: We started by interviews with Bay Area activist, and meetings with political organizations like NationSwell and media companies like the Nation.
Test campaigns: To validate the insights we learned from our interviews we ran test campaigns from our interested activists on their most passionate causes: Animal cruelty, water rights, gofundme’s, and etc. Our most successful campaign involved driving traffic to a Russian language pro-LGBT site targeting Russian IPs after LGBT propaganda was made illegal there.
Product developement: Over the course of a six months, we built the backend to interface with some of the top publisher networks and an API for the front end to interface with. From there, we spent the next year quickly iterating on the product design and experience.
Question: What type of ad will work?
V1: User contributed ad graphic
We got some great ads created by users of different skill levels, but unsuprisingly, the ad creation process was too much of an obstacle.
V2: Auto generated ads from user text
To reduce the friction from creating a campaign we developed an attractive text based ad creation tool.
V3: Auto generated ads from URL
To even further reduce ad creation friction, we removed any requirements for user input. Just provide the URL to promote and our system auto generate the ads.
Question: How to make the ad purchase process consumer friendly?
V1: Powerful ad targeting abilities
In our initial customer interviews, there was excitment over the ability to target demographics. We quickly built a verion that had this ability in the ad creation flow.
V2 : Make the targeting options and pricing optional
In actual usage, the targeting options was mostly ignored, so to reduce the number of clicks to success we changed the multipage flow to a single page with expandable options.
V3 : Automate and remove all friction points, including the price
With ad graphics generated on demand based on the URL, we moved all targeting decisions to the backend, and introduced a free tier for reaching a thousand viewers only. Removing all ad buying friction that we found through logs and user interviews, resulting in stronger traction and finding new bases of users.