Though politics are rife with debate and dissent, there is no counter argument for the fact that political advertising is huge. How huge? According to Forbes, political candidates spent more than $8.5 billion on ads across tv, radio and digital in the 2019-2020 election cycle. The 2022 mid-terms are expected to exceed $7.5 billion, a record number for a non-presidential election cycle. Some specific congressional and senatorial candidates will break the $250 million barrier themselves.
Targeting the right prospective voters with the right message at the right time and on the right device is critical to ensuring ad budgets aren’t wasted. While canvassing such a large pool will never be perfect, there are steps candidates can take to ensure that their communications find the right recipient.
Access accurate data.
You need to start with the basics – political affiliation, demographic, and geography are the first metrics you need to get right. Partnering with a data provider like Stirista is a good start. We have over 199 million records in our database of voter information – and it’s all primarily sourced from public records. Additionally, knowing people’s stances on everything from gun control to taxes to marriage rights can allow for subject-specific micro targeting and accurate delivery to voters likely to support one stance or party over another. You can also get information on voters who donated to both liberal and conservative causes.
Choose the right channel.
Knowing your audience and how they consume content is critical in any industry but especially important in political advertising where reaching the right audience is a win and reaching an audience in vehement opposition to your stances is a waste of impressions, dollars and their time.
For example, CTV might be the best channel for many as streaming consumption continues to rise. And while Facebook might be the best avenue for gen x and boomer voters, you’re more likely to reach gen z and millennials on Instagram or Twitter. Display advertising and remarketing works most effectively when your ads appear on contextually relevant sites or sites whose content and subject matter align closely to your target audiences’ interests.
Email and direct mail can be effective for nearly all audiences – provided you aren’t relying on IP-address only, which brings us to our next point.
Know what methods your partner is using to identify your audience.
There are a number of ways that a good data or media partner can ensure you waste neither money nor impressions. Many data sets are outdated by the time you look to apply them. We update the data we compile from government records and public voter registration information monthly and segment it according to demographics, financial attributes and interests sourced from a number of online interactions.
The means of targeting is also important. IP address alone is not sufficient, since entire families can share a single address. IP-targeted ads can go to all members who may not share political affiliations nor even be of voting age. You might even get some neighbors in the mix. But we use proprietary deterministic data that includes device targeting and postal matchback for greater accuracy with less waste.
We can also help you create audiences based on social interactions – a very strong indicator of a user’s stance, party affiliation and the causes they are passionate about. We employ a database of over 240 million and can pinpoint those who are most interested in the 2nd amendments, active Dems and Republicans and civil-rights supporters.
It’s going to be a record spend. Get record turnout.
No matter your message, it’s only as strong as the number of people it reaches – and more importantly, the number of the right people. Don’t trust your ad dollars to partners using outdated, limited or inaccurate measures to create your audience.