Enhanced Video Texting (EVT) changed the way we send and consume video content
On Thursday, April 29th a bipartisan panel of judges from the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) announced that we won two Gold Pollie Awards for our Enhanced Video Texting (EVT) entry “Bridging the TV-Texting Divide: Enhanced Multimedia Texting.” Our Gold Pollie Award-winning entry won in two categories: “Best Use of Peer-to-Peer Texting” and “Best Ad Technology Innovation.”
A Gold Pollie is the highest recognition in the political campaign industry. This year the Pollie Awards had the largest applicant pool ever in its history for the 2020 cycle, and less than 6% of entries earned the top honor of winning a Gold Pollie.
Lets go behind the scenes to see why our EVT technology is such a game changer:
Changes in the landscape left many without options
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures. It’s not surprising that most Americans prefer to watch a video over reading an article on the same topic, which is why TV ads have long been a staple in campaigning. However, 1-in-5 households no longer have traditional TV service as ad-free streaming services continue to explode.
In 2020, campaigns across the country faced disruptions in their efforts to reach voters with their ads on social media from the unprecedented move by big tech giants to restrict political ads the week before the election.
The lasting impact a well produced campaign ad can have on a voter was too valuable to give up on, so campaigns sought alternative channels for distribution. The ideal channel to send videos ad content is texting, since texts have a 98% open rate. This however, posed a great challenge for two reasons:
1) Free compression tools don’t work
If you’ve ever tried the free video compression tools available online, you know they barely work for a 10 second video compression and produce unwatchable videos longer than 15 seconds. Also the audio will not work consistently on all phones due to differences in individual carriers.
2) Sending videos at scale to different phone models and carriers is complicated
Each video requires its own bespoke combination of alterations, often made by hand and perfected through experience in order to maximize quality and have working audio across all phone types. Over time we were able to introduce more automations in the process to scale up and meet demand.
From September through the election we custom compressed over 150 made-for-TV videos which were sent to tens of millions of voters. We became an essential alternative during the big tech political ad freeze.
Accessibility increases with video captions
Hearing impairments affect more Americans than people realize. Approximately 38.2 million Americans, or 14.3%, report some degree of hearing impairment or loss (source).
Our Enhanced Video service adds captions that are custom mapped to match the voiceover so videos are watchable for everyone. According to a consumer study by Verizon, “50% of consumers said captions are important because they watch videos with the sound off” (source).
EVT highlights the importance of sharing videos on mobile devices
Videos with captions accommodate for three of the four widely-accepted learning styles: visual, auditory and reading/writing. It’s not surprising then that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text (source).
Additionally, studies have shown that 92% of users watching video on mobile will share it with others (source). This means that taking the time to send a high quality video to an audience via text will most likely result in the video being shared with others.
Including Enhanced Videos in messages increases delivery & view rates
Delivery rate matters more than anything because undelivered messages = money wasted. Embedded video is more likely to avoid blocking and simultaneously results in much higher view rates than linking to an external source.
EVT gave clients an edge in their campaigns in 2020, especially in extremely close races.
One of our clients used this new technology to send a 60-second ad to almost 700,000 voters featuring the Senator’s sister explaining how Senator Graham took care of her after their parents passed away. The video illustrated the Senator’s compassion and humanity, receiving nearly 60,000 replies from voters.
One of our clients was able to send an especially moving campaign video featuring the candidate’s wife and their story. She had an accident in college that left her paralyzed, but he never left her side. Many people would not have known their compelling story had it not been for the video they were texted about it. The only way to send this type of message was with Enhanced Video Texting.
He won his election with a landslide victory, claiming 85.5% of the vote.
Chasing every vote by sending compelling, high quality videos produced real results for this congressional campaign. Their team sent EVT texts that resonated with voters and inspired them to get to the polls. They beat the incumbent by an incredible 1.3% , or just 5,415 votes!
Campaigns in 2021 are using EVT for a wide variety of initiatives, including fundraising, advocacy, persuasion, and as a more direct alternative to TV for distributing ads.
Our team developed a completely new way for campaigns to reach voters with high quality video texts, bridging the TV-Texting divide. This capability did not exist in the industry prior to our solution, and it has helped campaigns across the country connect with millions of voters on a deeper level than ever before possible.