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Campaign ads could get more direct with programmatic TV.

Campaign Ads: Programmatic TV Has Presidential Aspirations

October 30th, 2015   ||    by Monta Monaco Hernon

The 2016 presidential elections are shaping up to be quite a spectacle, with a large field filled with strong personalities. Spending on TV campaign ads is projected to hover at around $4.4 billion, reports Adweek. Traditional spots will be at a premium, particularly given that key battleground states such as Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have Senate races running next year as well.

Candidates who are able to target their message on local programming or broadcast television will have an advantage. Programmatic TV offers candidates a platform that can help them decide where they will buy campaign ads based on voter data to find and reach the most persuadable of the electorate.

Lesson Learned

The evidence is there—at least anecdotally—that targeting can have a positive effect on a campaign strategy. In 2012, President Barack Obama spent nearly double the amount of his opponent, Mitt Romney, on digital campaigning: $52 million versus $26 million, according to NBC Chicago. Digital campaigning by nature lends itself to data mining and personalization. An analysis of the Obama campaign’s efforts shows an emphasis on technology and modeling early in the race, leading to the conclusion that both played a role in winning the election, The Washington Post reports.

Republicans took note, and in 2014, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s reelection bid paid attention to digital advertising and analytics. A Google case study says the campaign pushed through five million impressions and achieved a view-through rate of 84 percent between September and Election Day. The voting blocs targeted were those that helped Walker win in November.

Deciphering Voter Data

Much like ads for online sites and streaming media, programmatic television utilizes data such as age, gender, income, and purchasing habits to choose an appropriate audience rather than just assuming which broad demographic might be interested in a particular piece of content. In some cases, buying local can be a smarter decision than going national. By creating a detailed picture of who is watching what, advertisers can buy timeslots based on the market segment they are trying to reach. There may be fewer overall impressions, but there is a greater likelihood of a positive reception and actionable result.

In the political realm, combining audience statistics with voter data helps campaign teams determine where the undecided voters are and delivers them the messages that will resonate best. In essence, programmatic TV adds to the total package. Voters may receive direct mail and a home visit and then watch campaign ads that hit on issues important to them.

50 States of Waste, an analysis of the 2014 Congressional elections by Targeted Victory and Google, found that 75 cents on every broadcast dollar was wasted on the wrong voters, including those who lived out of district. For example, in the state of Illinois, only about $1.4 million of the approximately $19 million spent on campaign ads was targeted to the right audience.

There is a lot of room for improvement for programmatic TV to demonstrate the power data and technology can bring to the 2016 presidential campaigns. With so many candidates vying for the nominations, it stands to reason that those who can find the sweet spot of their potential constituency will have an advantage—and the victors will carry their experience into the general election.

To understand more about how programmatic buying can affect political campaigns, contact us at Videa.

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