The 2021 elections in Virginia and New Jersey taught all of us in the Democratic space a lot about what we need to work on ahead of 2022.
At Deck, we have identified one big, solvable problem that's keeping Democratic campaigns from winning more votes: many campaigns are talking to the wrong voters — mobilizing Republicans and reaching Democrats who are already likely to vote instead of focusing on persuasion or turnout where outreach has maximum impact.
We built Deck to help campaigns talk to the right people. This cycle, the campaigns who used our targets did 2.2 points better than non-Deck users when compared to their respective 2019 campaigns. In this post, we’ll explore the work Deck and our campaigns did this cycle to target the right voters.
Deck in 2021
In 2020 Deck was lucky to work with 1,142 campaigns. After the cycle ended, our team dug deep into the feedback we received from users, state parties, and other organizations. We have always wanted to make Deck easy to use and understand, but more importantly a simple way for Democratic campaigns up and down the ballot to target their voters. We had to ask some hard questions after the last cycle to make sure Deck was most helpful for our users.
We retooled Deck to focus campaigns on what matters most: talking to the right people. We removed the forecast and media pages so Deck users could spend their time pulling lists and running ads. We made these changes after our users told us those features hadn't helped them make data-driven outreach decisions.
As a result, usage on Deck is way up! Our users this cycle exported more lists per user than last year, spent more time on the app, and had better experiences. Campaigns this cycle used Deck to target their voters, launch Facebook ads, monitor the state of their race, and do vote-by-mail specific outreach.
Campaigns on Deck
This cycle, we worked with 116 campaigns. The majority of our campaigns were based in Virginia and we were lucky to work with the Democratic Party of Virginia to onboard these campaigns. Working with the state party helped us ensure that campaigns who had free access knew about the tool. Of the campaigns granted access by the state party, 50% activated their Deck accounts.
This cycle, campaigns used Deck to pull lists into VoteBuilder, run Facebook ads, and run early voting outreach. Deck powered over 10 million exports, focusing on digital ads and fundraising, persuasion, and turnout.
Deck’s improvements to the app in 2021 helped campaigns make better use of our targets. Campaigns on Deck exported 86% more records per campaign than last cycle. And they spent three times as much on running digital ads.
Campaigns focused on outreach and ran better campaigns. Although it was a tough night for Democrats across the board, the 39 Virginia campaigns that used Deck did 1 point better (relative to 2019 results) than those that didn’t. The 9 campaigns that used Deck to export at least 1,000 records did 2.2 points better than non-users.
New Features for 2021
In 2021, our campaigns made use of field reports and our Ballots feature to monitor the state of their race. With field reports, campaigns can see how much energy they are spending on Democratic versus Republican targets. These field reports give them up-to-date high level information.
This field report from Sally Hudson's campaign shows how their voter outreach picked up in October to start GOTV:
Deck’s Ballots feature updated daily, allowing campaigns to track how many people were casting ballots each day and manage targeted outreach ballot requests, ballot chase, and ballot curing.
The Ballots feature was a favorite of our candidates, helping them keep an eye on how voting is going. This sample of the Ballots page for Irene Shin shows how her GOTV outreach was successful in helping people return ballots:
Deck helped lots of campaigns this cycle run better races. Deck is excited to continue our work through our partnership with the DNC next cycle. To sign up for Deck or learn more click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.