How We Helped Oregon Get Off Coal

The Renew Oregon campaign promotes a clean energy future for the state of Oregon and transitioning the state away from dirty polluting energy sources. We worked with Renew Oregon to help pass the Oregon Clean Electricity and Coal Transition bill. This legislation will move Oregon off coal-fired energy generation by 2035, double Oregon’s renewable energy generation by 2040 and significantly reduce carbon emissions produced in the state.

Our digital strategy to pass this bill and get Oregon off coal had two distinct components:

  1. Activate Renew Oregon’s online supporter base
  2. Reach influencers inside the Oregon State Capitol.

Both strategies were essential elements of getting the Coal Transition bill passed by the state House and Senate.

“Thank you guys for all your hard work this session. One of the particularly scary things to the utilities (that brought them to the table) was our digital game. They praised it over and over.” -Brad Reed, Director of Communications, Renew Oregon

Activating Online Supporters

First, we informed and engaged Renew Oregon’s core supporters about this legislation by boosting Facebook posts. We regularly promoted page posts on Renew Oregon’s Facebook page that informed the organization’s base about the status and content of the Coal Transition bill.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 3.42.55 PMWe then encouraged key Facebook audiences (page fans, custom audiences including email lists matched to Facebook profiles, people with environmental interests, etc) to take action and contact their legislators. We specifically served “contact your legislator” ads to individuals living in districts represented by legislators that were still on the fence about how they were voting on the Coal Transition bill.

Once a Facebook user clicked on our ad, they were directed to an optimized landing page and asked to enter a home address on a Do Gooder form. The Do Gooder form then identified the user’s legislator based on the address provided and prompted the user to send the default email encouraging their legislator to support the Coal Transition bill.  

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As a result of this “contact your legislator” campaign, Oregon legislators voting on the Coal Transition bill received over 2,000 emails from constituents. Every legislator we targeted, both Democrat and Republican, voted in support of the bill during their chamber’s final vote. After the Senate and House voted on the bill, we ran mini-email campaigns that encouraged constituents to contact their legislators and thank them for their support.

Reaching Influencers Inside the Capitol  

The second component of our strategy used geo-targeting  to show ads to computers and devices with IP addresses located inside the Oregon State Capitol. We wanted to increase visibility of the campaign within the Capitol and put pressure on key decision makers and influencers. Opponents and proponents of the bill alike were served our display ads, keeping the Coal Transition bill and our campaign in the front of their minds.
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Our display campaign was incredibly successful, generating 113,589 impressions inside the Capitol building over the course of two weeks. Notably, on March 3 (the day of the Coal Transition bill’s final vote) there was a major spike in the click through rate (CTR) on these ads. This spike in clicks demonstrates the effectiveness of our visibility campaign. We were able to reach interested parties and influence them enough to engage directly with our ad.

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The digital components of this campaign were a significant factor in passing the Coal Transition bill. We activated Renew Oregon’s online supporter base, reached key constituent audiences and produced thousands of legislator email contacts. We also effectively reached influencers within the Capitol bringing awareness and visibility to the campaign.

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Further reinforcing the effectiveness of our digital campaign, Renew Oregon informed us that the opposition even praised our expert digital strategy, stating it helped bring them to the negotiation table in the end.