Political Advertising is CTV
November 03, 20226 min read

Why the future of political advertising is CTV - Not Facebook

The 2022 midterm election campaigns are underway, and streaming TV is playing an integral role in candidates’ marketing strategies. 

So far, nearly $3.6 billion has been spent on political and issue ads this year, with $309 million going to connected TV. In total, $1.5 billion will be spent on political CTV ads in 2022, surpassing the $1.3 billion expected to be spent on Google and Facebook. 

I know what you’re thinking — there is no way CTV is going to surpass Google and Facebook for political spending.

But, it’s the truth. And here’s why…

1. Changes to privacy regulations

In the past, candidates relied on Facebook to granularly target voters, collect emails, and solicit fundraising dollars. But privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA, the depreciation of identifiers like third-party cookies, and iOS updates have had a massive impact on social platforms’ ability to track and target users on their online journey. 

"If you're running a campaign targeted towards less than a million people, you're going to have a very hard time being able to reach people you want to reach," said a former Obama communications official and political strategist via Axios.

In other words, Facebook just doesn’t cut it anymore compared to channels like CTV advertising that can still reach precise, local audiences at scale.

Plus, Facebook’s role in the whole 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal also left a bad taste in people’s mouths. 

2. Granular targeting on CTV

Similar to digital advertising, political advertisers are able to target potential voters on CTV via a variety of different criteria, such as demographics, interests, and location.

  • Demographic-based targeting means candidates can speak specifically to different segments of the population like gender, generations, and ethnicity.

  • Interest-based ad targeting allows candidates to serve issue-based ads to people based on what they really care about in the election. For example, a candidate can serve an environmental policy ad to an “Earth-conscious voter in California”.

  • Geography-based targeting enables candidates to serve messages crafted for different regions, which is particularly useful in local elections — candidates for local office can reach households in the specific communities they need to engage with specific messaging. However, it also allows national campaigns the ability to target voters in valuable swing counties and states where ad spend can have the most impact on campaign outcomes.

Geographic targeting in particular is critical to the success of most political campaigns.

BIA forecasts that for the 2022 cycle, $8.6 billion dollars will be spent in local media. Local TV and radio stations will make up the largest bucket, but digital will also play a role, with CTV leading the way. 

A big reason for this serious spend is that CTV is a rapidly growing platform for audience extension, deeper targeting, and attribution.

Forget DMAs—CTV enables political parties and candidates to reach potential voters in their choice of specific communities across the entire country. Candidates can speak directly to millennial moms in Biloxi, Mississippi who watch PlutoTV and are interested in a specific product, for example. This one example can be applied to every local community in the country. 

Plus, this data is protected, privacy-safe, non-PII.

3. Real-time campaign optimization

It can take weeks or months for advertisers to receive data back from linear TV campaigns — and by that time, the election cycle may be over.

But that’s not the case with CTV. 

With ads delivered to the TV via the Internet, advertisers get immediate, real-time access to performance data for campaigns (similar to channels like Google and Facebook). 

This translates to the ability to optimize campaigns mid-flight. Candidates can understand who their messaging is resonating with and what these people are watching, then re-allocate funds to increase exposure with that audience throughout the remainder of the campaign. 

Similarly, Madhive helped brands at Neiman Marcus use real-time optimization to re-allocate funds mid-campaign to double down on high-performing markets. Hyper-local CTV campaign generates serious holiday sales for CBD skincare brand

4. Measurement and attribution

For decades, TV was thought to be a brand awareness tool. But, again, thanks to ads delivered via the Internet, CTV has become a full-funnel marketing channel. 

At a topline level, traditional TV was measured via a gross rating point (GRP), which was developed by Nielsen and is intended to measure the impact of ads based on its panel. But CTV is delivered in a way that’s more similar to digital and can be measured based on actual impressions and conversions. 

Now, instead of relying on a small panel to measure the entire $70 billion TV ad industry, we are relying on glass-level data that can verify every time an ad hits the screen. Glass-level data refers to automatic content recognition (ACR), which is a technology to identify and verify that content actually hit the glass and played on a device.

When it comes to measuring CTV ad outcomes, advertisers can measure ad impact against a variety of KPIs, such as:

  • Top-of-funnel lift metrics like brand awareness, perceptions, familiarity, favorability, and purchase intent

  • Bottom-of-funnel metrics like location attribution, site attribution, offline sales lift, and foot traffic

For candidates, this means understanding both the top-line impact, as well as measuring KPIs like website visits, email signups, and donations.

5. Bigger screen, bigger impact

TVs are not only the biggest screens in our daily lives, but they are often the centerpieces of our homes. This is a big reason that consumers are able to recall ads on streaming TV 46% of the time, which is significantly higher than other digital channels. 

Audiences also claim they find ads on TV or streaming less annoying than ads on social media, websites, or in mobile games. And because 92% of consumers who watch streaming content also use at least one ad-supported service, there is plenty of inventory across the nearly 40 million U.S. households that have cut the cord.

This overall impact of the TV screen — paired with the targeting, measurement and attribution capabilities of CTV — make it a home run for political advertisers. 

Get started…stat

CTV is already playing a major role in the 2022 midterm elections, with political parties and candidates taking advantage of the targeting, measurement, and attribution capabilities of the platform.  But there’s still time to engage voters through CTV. Unlike advertising on traditional TV, advertising on CTV presents surprisingly low barriers to entry. It’s easy to get started, there’s no need for giant budget commitments, and there’s lots of flexibility.

Never done TV advertising before? No worries — you don’t have to be a legacy linear TV spender.

Get your clients started now to impact their outcomes this November.