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Programmatic advertising for political campaigns

Voter behaviors are shifting quickly and dramatically, putting the cost of attention at an all-time high. That means it’s more important than ever that your advertising be impactful, channel-appropriate, and breakthrough without creating voter fatigue. Read on for tips on how to use Connected TV to create a more holistic political marketing campaign.

Changes to media behaviors — including social media sharing and streaming TV — brought the cost of attention to at an all-time high after the pandemic. In a survey from The Trade Desk Intelligence, 43% of voters in battleground states said they would best describe political ads on cable as “annoying,”¹ likely owing to the oversaturation of ad pods with campaigns spots during election season.

This all adds up to high competition and low ad recall. Which means you need to ensure your paid voter contact is impactful, channel-appropriate, and innovative without creating voter fatigue. With omnichannel programmatic advertising on our platform, we can help you do just that.

Advertise on Connected TV and connected audio for political campaigns

Historically, direct mail, linear TV, and radio were the backbone of a winning political media strategy. Political campaigns have always been slow to adopt the latest technology — in this case, digital channels. While contemporary voters spend much of their time on CTV and audio, most campaigns are underinvesting in these channels.

This trend is even more pronounced in battleground states, which over-index on CTV compared to linear TV. Below are the percentages of voters surveyed by state who are more likely to watch CTV over linear TV

  • Michigan: 65% 
  • Georgia: 61% 
  • Arizona: 61% 
  • Pennsylvania: 61% 
  • Wisconsin: 64% 
  • Nevada: 65% 

What’s more, social media investments are inherently limited to 24% of the time that users are online.

In comparison, research from Sounds Profitable shows that podcasts are a great way to reach a younger audience.

There’s a clear opportunity in digital advertising. And when you use our platform, you can:

  • Control frequency across any of these channels;
  • Reach voters of all ages with audio;
  • Match contextual relevance easily and at scale; and
  • Minimize message fatigue for viewers on CTV.
How we’re helping you reach potential voters

Our advances in targeting capabilities give you the ability to create targeted messaging at scale, including finer granularity in geotargeting, sentiment analysis, and expanded potential of deterministic IDs, like Unified ID 2.0 (UID2) and RampID. This enables you to deliver a near one-to-one message to identified supporters as well as to target content or behaviors that are indicative of voter intent.

We’ve developed a few new tools to help with more targeted messaging:

  • UID2s in third-party audience segments from L2
  • Enhanced granularity in contextual sentiment reporting
  • One-day-to-live when onboarding new audience segments
  • Enhanced local forecasting

These new tools unlock your ability to:

  • Increase flexibility to “rolling target” early voters in key periods to turn out the right people fast;
  • Segment and manage ideal omnichannel frequencies for your campaign’s spend efficiency; and
  • Extend across devices with Identity Alliance and optimize impression mix/distribution, further driving efficiency and impact.

Political advertising on our platform is more measurable

You cannot move that which you cannot measure. The impact from traditional channels can take weeks to show up in lagging channel measurements like polling or incremental low-dollar donations. When you activate primarily on digital inventory, the script flips.

Using a durable ID, like UID2, you can build robust experimentation plans for your campaign to learn from your media buys and tune them rapidly to outcomes.

This includes sophisticated metrics used by some of the largest brands in the world like cost per unique household (CPUH), which allows you to calculate incremental reach by leveraging frequency caps to precisely deliver the right number of messages to voters over a given period. This also allows campaigns to understand how to reinvest savings made by delivering against ideal frequency into other key blocks of voters.

Moreover, these measurement capabilities will soon scale up and down the ballot — giving house, legislative, and county parties the buying tools they need.

So, what takeaways can you carry into the next election cycle? Here are three:

  • There is scale and power when using digital channels programmatically.
  • Targeting and measurement capabilities can enable efficiency and increased reach with existing budgets.
  • The flexibility and contextual capabilities of digital can allow for better message-to-channel fit, which enables message breakthrough.

For more information, reach out to your account manager.

¹ The Trade Desk Intelligence, “How would you best describe political advertisements you see on cable/broadcast/satellite TV (e.g., channels like Fox News, USA, and CBS on a TV)?” survey in Engaging the Electorate, November 2023. Potential voters (n=4,000) surveyed weekly. Battleground states (California and Pennsylvania: 800 respondents each; Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Nevada: 400 respondents each).

Recruitment Criteria: 18+; eligible to vote; U.S. citizen; and no federal offense). Fieldwork Dates: weekly conduction between October 14, 2022 and November 15, 2022.

The Trade Desk provides this information for the general knowledge of its clients or prospective clients and does not make any representations or guarantees of any kind with regards to the future performance of the information set forth.