Tampa Bay Water is a nonprofit regional utility that supplies wholesale drinking water to over 2.5 million people in Hillsborough County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, New Port Richey, St. Petersburg, and Tampa. Their mission is to reliably supply clean, safe water to the Tampa Bay region now and for future generations through protection of public water resources and through the planning, development, and production of water infrastructure.

tampa bay water pipeline being installed in southern hillsborough county

The Challenge

The Need for Community Feedback

In June 2022, Tampa Bay Water needed to get at least 1,000 community members to take an online survey about possible routes for a new pipeline through the region. They partnered with Cordelia Labs to produce a three-week long online ad campaign to direct people toward the survey.

As a public organization created by the municipalities it serves, Tampa Bay Water had a responsibility to solicit feedback from community members in the south Hillsborough County area but had relatively little time in which to do it: just three weeks.

illustration of 3 week timeline

The Strategy

Paid Media Campaigns

With only a few weeks to gather 1,000 survey responses, Cordelia Labs chose to focus on a combination of direct mail and programmatic display and social media advertising to reach as many southern Hillsborough County residents as possible. We included QR codes with the mailers in order to better track traffic to the landing page even when it didn’t originate with a click.

The Tactics

Display and Social Media Advertising

The targeted audience for display and social media ads was selected based on zip codes for the area of the proposed route, southern Hillsborough County. Due to the limited time frame, there wouldn’t be many opportunities to conduct thorough A/B testing of different ad formats.

To offset this, the campaign launched with six different ad variations with different combinations of copy and imagery with clear, direct references to the forthcoming construction. Casting a wide net with these different formats at the start made it possible to focus on the variations that were performing the best after just a week’s worth of results.

ad creatives for tampa bay water pipeline survey campaign

Direct Mail and Organic Traffic

We also reached southern Hillsborough County residents with direct mailers. We equipped them with QR codes to better track the origin of traffic to the landing page.

While there were only 16 QR code scans over the three-week campaign, a high volume of direct and organic traffic showed that many were typing the URL directly into their browser after receiving the direct mailer.

tampa bay water qr code

The Results

Exceeding Expectations

Thanks to Cordelia Labs’ paid social and the display ad campaign, Tampa Bay Water exceeded their campaign target – with time and money to spare:

  • Delivered 1,000 surveys within 3 weeks.
  • 37% increase in survey responses compared to a previous 2019 campaign – despite a significantly smaller target audience
  • Achieved goal with 4% budget remaining
  • 10.7% survey completion rate – well above their comparable 2019 campaign

With Cordelia Labs’ help, Tampa Bay Water exceeded their total goal for survey responses for this campaign by 3% quickly and under budget. This highlighted Cordelia Labs as an effective, reliable partner for future public opinion projects.