Politically Programmatic

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Politically programmatic

By Rob Byrnes Senior Director of Programmatic Sales, Gamut via Ad Age

Programmatic advertising may be the greatest thing to come to elections since the voting booth. Consider some of the benefits of programmatic: it’s easy to scale, it’s fast, it’s nimble, and it’s self-optimizing. The benefits go on and on. The Ad Age article mentions how political marketers are becoming more open to targeting an audience than the context.
As the candidates go down this road, there are two important considerations I hope their marketers keep in mind.

Open exchanges offer limited visibility as to where a message is being delivered. Sure, we know this is a thirty-something mom from Albuquerque, but is she seeing the message on Parents.com or Stuffonmycat.com? It’s not always clear, and this matters a great deal to the political camps. The Private Marketplace answers this challenge; a PMP can provide all of the benefits of programmatic, with the added feature of transparency. The trade-off here is some scale, but the more relevant inventory will certainly compensate.

Data is an extremely powerful tool, which means it can also ruin your project if it isn’t used properly. The candidates need to temper their expectations and fully understand that there isn’t enough data to identify every person, so each data layer shrinks an already limited pool. The candidates should not be surprised by hundreds of impressions delivered in a month long campaign. When buying TV, radio, or newspapers in a local market, everyone in the area over 18 years of age is “targeted, ” yielding a few hundred thousand people.

Digital enables them to target just a few zip codes in that area. Add several data layers: people 18+, inferring political affiliation, and HHI estimates. Suddenly, there are only 10, 000 people to message. Also, not everyone in the area visits the local media web sites, so that 10, 000 is now 7, 000. Even with a Private Marketplace, inventory availability comes into play, so you can only really reach 4, 000. Granted, these are highly relevant, highly qualified impressions, and the trade-off again is scale, but the benefit is pinpoint targeting and savings.

Messaging to these 4, 000 people 20 times each at an average CPM of $25 will cost a whopping $2, 000. Compared to what it costs to “blitz” the entire area through TV, radio and newspaper, this is the ultimate no-brainer.

I encourage our candidates to harness the power of programmatic, but to do so intelligently. Quality often takes precedence over volume, but this is one case in which you don’t need to choose between the two.

Read more about programmatic in political season via Ad Age