Why TV Can Be More Effective Than Social Media for Political Advertising

The media landscape of today is very different compared to even the last election, with candidates using new ways to engage their constituents. Karen Ring, Head of Research for software platform Telara, offers insights on political advertising trends – and explains why TV is still reigns supreme for reaching voters.

How can TV be more effective than social media at reaching voters?

Though people are using social media more than ever, research that we conducted found that the prevalence of fake news on social platforms has soured voters’ trust in the content and advertisements they see in this environment. Sixty-three percent of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 29 said they didn’t trust social media political advertising at all. When they aren’t being purposely ignored, ads on social media tend to be small, skippable or otherwise easily missed, whereas TV provides a big screen, non-skippable experience.

The emotional persuasiveness of TV still reigns supreme for political advertisers but with over 30% of U.S. households no longer reachable through cable or satellite TV, connected TV is where voters will be tuned in. By connected TV we mean long-form, premium video content delivered through an internet connection on a large TV screen so it is the same viewer experience as traditional TV. Connected TV also gives political advertisers a leg up over traditional TV due to the ability to target more specific audiences than they do in other digital mediums.

How are political advertisers using targeting to communicate with desired audiences?

Targeting and addressable will be table stakes in this upcoming election. In the past, campaigns have relied on age-based buying demos as one of the only means of audience targeting and even gender targeting has been limited. Now greater data availability expands the range of buying options for campaigns. As we get into primary season, political advertisers will engage more hyper-targeting techniques. In addition to geographic targeting using DMA and zip code, political advertisers can target based on first-party and psychographic data that can align with a candidate’s political platform. 

Reaching independent and undecided voters will be incredibly important in 2020.  And you know what is the largest group of undecided voters: those aged 18-29, aka GenZennials.  They haven’t formed their party affiliations yet, and are paying very close attention to this election.  Ask a room full of GenZennials if they have cable TV and you will see very few hands go up.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t consuming TV content, it just means that streaming devices are their preferred method of access. Connected TV must be a part of any candidate’s media strategy for driving voter turnout.

What kinds of advertising tech is most effective for running video campaigns?

With regards to connected TV, frequency capping and competitive separation are two technology tools that enable a viewing experience very similar to the broadcast viewing experience. This ensures ads do not repeat too often nor play adjacent to an opponent’s ad, which is often what advertisers and viewers prefer. In a political scenario, these features may or may not be what candidates want leading up to crucial election dates depending on their media strategy so they must work with technology partners to determine the best course of action.

At a higher level, leveraging programmatic for video advertising on any screen be it connected TV, mobile or desktop enables political advertisers to monitor and adjust their ad campaigns in real time. This is a huge advantage given the fast paced realities that lead up to election day. Creative executions can be easily swapped in and out for immediate response on a particular issue or attack ad. Programmatic spend can be tripled, halved, or shifted to another market in a matter of minutes, ensuring political advertisers can make each ad dollar work most effectively to meet their campaign goals.




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