Political Campaigns Win With CTV – But Keep These 3 Things In Mind For The Midterms

Ivan Markman Yahoo

On TV & Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video. 

Today’s column is by Yahoo Chief Business Officer Iván Markman. 

As the 2022 midterm elections approach, political advertising is set to have another boom year. Spending is expected to hit $8.92 billion – just shy of the $8.96 billion spent in 2020, a presidential election year unlike any other. This year, CTV will be a $1.5 billion piece of that pie, up from a much smaller $80 million slice back in 2018.

CTV is a no-brainer for political advertisers today, and digital and linear buyers agree. Viewership is up, it costs less, there’s more ad inventory, it’s addressable and it allows incremental reach on top of linear spend. 

But 2022 presents specific challenges. With a significant down-ballot focus, there is a need for more granular, localized targeting and efficient ad campaign spend. Here are three ways CTV can strengthen political campaigns during the 2022 midterms:

Activate audiences 

Identity is becoming more challenging as the digital industry prepares for a future without third-party cookies. But CTV offers advantages for political advertisers in sourcing and matching relevant audiences in the right geographies.

Automated content recognition matches samples of video content to comprehensive banks of content from linear and streaming providers. It allows advertisers to connect their spend to KPIs, while also identifying CTV viewers who have not already seen the same campaign’s ad on linear. That last feature helps political campaigns activate against custom audience segments, and target voters who have already seen a competitor’s ad on linear. 

Optimize reach, targeting and cost

Reach must be coupled with control of frequency, so a campaign can get the right message out at the most opportune times without oversaturating the audience. That challenge requires the right omnichannel media mix. CTV allows campaigns to optimize in this regard, regardless of budget size.

Budget-friendliness will be particularly important during these midterms. Campaigns are under great pressure to gain down-ballot victories through more nuanced targeting. The number of races at stake for political advertisers can be daunting, and blanketing specific geographies can put a dent in the budget. It’s imperative to avoid wasting spend on DMAs for state-level voting districts in linear. CTV allows political advertisers to target relevant voters at the local level, providing cost efficiencies and better budget forecasting.

Measure and iterate

The opportunities for measurement in CTV can also give political advertisers crucial insights for planning future campaigns.

Traditionally, measurement may have not been a top-line concern for all political campaigns – the impact of a campaign is clearest after the fact. But the blossoming volume of CTV inventory creates opportunities for campaigns to track performance midflight. Political advertisers can also conduct post-cycle measurement or measure in aggregate after each activation in order to track engagement across their CTV buys. 

The strategies used by political advertisers look more like direct response efforts than they used to. They aim to mobilize voters to take action by voting by mail or finding their polling places. CTV will continue to play an important role in meeting those goals.

As we look toward the future, we’ll see campaigns wisely breaking down linear and digital budgets to allocate the right budget and define the right strategies for CTV. The sooner political campaigns get serious about CTV, the sooner they can gain valuable insights about what their video strategy needs to look like in the future.

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