We made GoVoteBot because we recognized two main truths about the voting process. First, 43% of eligible voters did not vote in the 2012 presidential election. That's roughly 90,000,000 citizens. Second, the process is extremely confusing and hard to navigate as a first-time, young, or even experienced voter. To make matters worse, registration dates and deadlines vary across all 50 states, and can even be different across localities within a state.
We recognized an opportunity to make the voting process less overwhelming and more streamlined for voters. We also knew that while there is always a large brand and public push for registration, a vote is not counted until a ballot is submitted. For this reason, we wanted to tackle the entire process and ensure voters would be able to get all their questions answered at any stage of the voting process. Ultimately, we wanted to get people from the bot straight to the ballot.
Our solution was GoVoteBot, a chatbot on Facebook messenger that is an end-to-end and completely personalized solution to get voters the information they need to vote. Information is detailed and accurate, but more importantly, bite-sized for every voter to understand. Voters could register to vote, check their registration, and find out where to vote without ever leaving the bot. We took a complicated process and turned it into a conversation, putting it directly in the hands of mobile obsessed generation.
There were several features within Facebook messenger that we leveraged (or hacked) to make this experience truly innovative. We used a variety of messenger mechanisms, like quick reply buttons and carousels, to make the experience intuitive. We made the experience holistic by opening webpages within messenger to keep users in the experience. We also were one of the first to use a new ad type on Facebook that sends people directly into the conversation on messenger.
We sought out to design a bot that had true utility. It wasn't just a gimmick, but rather had a substantial amount of data that was valuable to voters. A chatbot was a perfect differentiator because it gave us the ability to deliver complex information in bite-sized chunks. But the magic of our experience is not just what we showed users, but the 99% of information that we kept hidden until users asked for it. This made our experience truly personalized because users did not see information that was irrelevant.
GoVoteBot received 55 million media impressions and started over 100,000 conversations about voting. It was featured in many major media and industry publications. Specifically, and as a non-partisan effort, we chose to direct our attention towards the least likely voters, Millennials and those who recently moved. 89% of our audience reached was under the age of 34, and 44% of our audience that engaged with the bot were between the ages of 18-24.
Throughout the campaign, GoVoteBot was considered a game changing tool and will continue to increase voter turnouts amongst young voters for elections to come. While many solutions attempted to help citizens vote, no other solution offered an end-to-end personalized experience for every user. Each message was delivered clearly, and even taught new voters about uncommon vocabulary like "Polling Location" or "In-Person Absentee Voting".
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