Ariel is an Account Manager at StackAdapt who is passionate about providing her clients the solutions and support they need to plan successful campaigns.
The 2020 political cycle turned out to be the most expensive in US history. Spending for both presidential and congressional races smashed records—and a big part of those campaign spends went to digital. The role of programmatic ads in political campaigning is growing as the impact and reach of digital is becoming more recognized.
The 2022 midterm elections are just around the corner. With the rise in early voter numbers, the time to plan your political campaigns is fast approaching. It’s important to consider all the tools you’ll need to run your campaign, and ensure that your demand-side platform (DSP) offers them. Based on my experience managing campaigns during last year’s election, here are 5 tools that I believe every marketer needs to run a successful political ad campaign.
Take Advantage of CRM Direct Upload
Before getting started with your political campaigns, make sure your DSP offers a solution for CRM direct upload. This solution enables users to easily upload their CRM data directly into their DSP. Once the data is uploaded, it is hashed to ensure all personal information is removed prior to generating the audience in the platform. From there, you’re able to retarget users who have shown interest in ways that aren’t captured by pixel tracking—users who’ve signed up for a newsletter, for example.
Given the increased demand for first-party data and the need to onboard voter files digitally, this solution is crucial when it comes to shortening the time required to get your political campaigns to market. With the right DSP, you’ll also have the ability to build a lookalike audience around your CRM list to increase reach, or suppress a list if needed.
Plan Your Political Ad Campaign with Programmatic Guaranteed
With increased political spending comes greater competition and higher CPMs, especially as we inch closer to the peak election months. This is why planning ahead is so important, particularly for political campaigns. Programmatic Guaranteed (PG) is a tool offered by DSPs that facilitates one-to-one deals between the publishers and advertisers. The advertiser pays a flat negotiated CPM for the inventory that they are purchasing. In return for purchasing all of the impressions fulfilling the criteria set, the publisher will set aside or reserve inventory for the advertiser.
Programmatic Guaranteed can help lock in rates against an audience that is hard to find, or it can help ensure delivery on campaigns—especially during periods of high competition, such as election time. For example, you can use Programmatic Guaranteed to reserve specific CTV placements on key dates.
Use Geotargeting to Reach US Congressional Districts
Geotargeting is the practice of delivering content to an audience using the geographic location information of the recipient. This targeting strategy is immensely important in political campaigns. It enables you to focus your advertising efforts on specific regions by city, state, zip code, or geo radius. This means campaigners can zero in on voters in a specific region, reducing the likelihood of wasting ad spend on people outside of a specific voting district.
Some DSPs offer targeting by US Congressional Districts—this feature allows you to reach your target audience with precision. You’re able to break out reporting by Congressional Districts as well, so you have full transparency into campaign performance and can pull insights easily at this granular level.
Embrace Cross-Channel Retargeting
Most marketers know that you need to be present where your customers are. And the reality of today is that customers are using a mixture of channels. Developing a strategic approach to capture that attention on the channels and devices your customers are using is key.
This is no different when it comes to voters. Through cross-channel retargeting, you can increase the likelihood that your political messaging reaches your audience repeatedly. Seeing your ads across devices and in various formats helps to build campaign awareness. With high reach and frequency across your target universe, your messaging will reach the voters who matter most to your campaign.
Leverage Contextual Targeting For Political Campaigns
With evolving consumer ad preferences and privacy-driven changes, marketers are increasingly turning to contextual advertising. Rather than targeting ads based on user behaviour, contextual advertising targets ads based on the environment in which the ad appears. This targeting strategy enables you to reach users while they have a particular frame of mind, which is indicated by the content they are consuming. For example, in running a political campaign you could experiment with targeting niche phrases that are related to a campaign’s platform, or to the political concerns of your target audience.
As the advertising industry starts to see a decline of cookies, the role of contextual targeting will continue to grow. When it comes to running political campaigns, contextual brings many new opportunities. In the upcoming midterms, start experimenting with contextual advertising so that as the cookie becomes more redundant, you have an alternative targeting strategy to shift to.
Choose a DSP That Offers the Features You Need
In my experience, these 5 features make all the difference in running political campaigns that reach the right voters. There are some other aspects to consider too. When looking for the right DSP for your campaign, your ideal technology partner should have a deep understanding of digital ad laws and compliance within the political space. The 2022 midterm cycle is fast approaching, but don’t stress! Now is the perfect time to begin planning your campaign strategy—starting with choosing the right DSP.
If you want to learn more about boosting the performance of your political ad campaign, reach out to your StackAdapt Representative or contact us to get your campaign up and running today!