Elections have traditionally been a time that nearly everyone rolls their eyes and counts down until the election is over and there won’t be any more political advertising. Sometimes it seems as though nothing is more frustrating than turning on the television and watching yet another commercial about a candidate or a referendum. There is one segment of society that doesn’t get tired of election season. Advertising. An entire year’s profit margin can be made during an election season.
How does web-based advertising stack up in the arena of election advertising compared to television and radio ads? Just like every other sort of advertising, there will be more ads if a political race becomes contentious and this increased advertising includes the use of programmatic advertising.
For decades, television has been the most used advertising for those campaigns with war-chests large enough to saturate the media market. Although people say they get tired of political advertising, it has been found that name recognition is one of the most important reasons they choose to vote for a candidate so the saturation is unlikely to stop soon. Politicians will spend the money to get their names out there as long as it works to attract voters. The second largest budgeted thing politicians spend money on, after television is for online advertising.
The website STRATA indicates that what makes web-based advertising, and programmatic advertising in particular so popular with political campaigns is their ability to put ads on social media channels that are intended to be a source of real-time marketing. Because this kind of advertising is able to react instantly the changes in market dynamics, this advertising is a great tool for those in campaigns who need to respond right away to an attack by a competitor, or to change the message as a result of a world-view change.
In addition to using advertising to spread the web-based word, candidates also plan to use social media. It is estimated that 60% of candidates would use Twitter during an election, 50% would use Facebook, and 40% would use YouTube. Each of these websites would then be prepared to support more advertising for their candidate.
One opinion from Lawrence Herman of BlueLink Marketing is that programmatic advertising isn’t beneficial for establishing a political candidate. Programmatic is better for responding to a sudden smear trick, or to a necessary change in policy rather than to get the candidates name out there for immersive name recognition. If candidate Smith doesn’t have great name recognition, programmatic advertising won’t be the best tool to give candidate Smith what he or she is seeking. If candidate Smith does have good name recognition, but wants to clear his name in a smear campaign, then programmatic would in all likelihood be a good took, at least according the BlueLink Marketing’s Herman.
Programmatic is about taking advantage of automatic trading systems to purchase a targeted demographic rather than a particular ad to run at a particular time. If a perceived voter is wondering who to vote for and sees a political ad, then he or she clicks on the ad and decides to vote for Smith. A specific target at a specific demographic is what programmatic advertising is best suited for. Not so much for branding, but more for direct response.