A group working to get more young voters to turn out for Democrats this year has bought more than $100,000 worth of ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter aimed at millennials and Generation Z in Iowa. Haley Hager is the state director for NextGen America, a group that’s spending $33 million nationally on these kind of digital ads.
“Eighteen to 35 years olds don’t watch a lot of cable,” Hager said. “They are on their phones, all the time.”
Unlike traditional campaign ads that run 30 and 60 seconds, these NextGen digital ads are short, 15 second messages. That’s designed to deliver the message before the viewer doesn’t click away. Hager said in Iowa, 18-to-24 year olds are the least active voting block.
“Political ads don’t usually target 18 year olds,” Hager said. “We turn out at half the rate, which means that traditionally campaigns don’t talk to us.”
NextGen has nearly five dozen paid staff in Iowa as well, working to register young voters. NextGen is financed by a California billionaire who has held town hall meetings around the country and has run TV ads calling for impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Kate Payne; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)