March 22, 2016 — by Lauryn Chamberlain, via GeoMarketing
Targeting a national campaign down at the local level has major search — and sales — implications for retailers. The same holds true for politicians: Customizing a campaign message and delivering it through both mobile and local media channels increases its relevancy, maximizing the chances that recipients will get out and vote at their polling place on election day.
Digital media agency Gamut‘s political division specializes in customized local media placements for politicians hitting the campaign trail, so it’s a bit of an understatement to say that 2016 is a busy year. Andrea Duggan, head of the political department, talked to GeoMarketing about the importance of being “politically programmatic” — and why local is the epicenter of everything.
GeoMarketing: What is a “day in the life” like as the head of Gamut’s political department during this election year?
Andrea Duggan: Every day is different. I primarily work with both agencies and candidate campaign groups in the political space to place advertising on the behalf. I work in the television space, the online space, the mobile and tablet space.
Within that, my focus is primarily in the local marketplace. Really, I pound my fist hard to anyone that will listen about the importance of the local voter and the local vote. These people are consuming media in the local marketplace. That’s very, very important to me.
Why is thinking on the local level so crucial to targeted political campaigns in particular?
There are a number of reasons. The first is that local voter turns first to their local news program or local news site, and it’s statistically proven that that’s where they go for their news and information. Obviously, with this [trusted source], there’s sort of an implied endorsement.
By the way, one in three of the top 25 media websites are local.
One thing we work to avoid: I’m sure you’ve seen many, many articles that have appeared in the absolute wrong content space, like pro-choice candidates or pro-choice messaging against an “anti” story. An awareness of this — combined with local [programmatic placements] — can help combat it.
How are these different political campaigns targeting voters on a local level? Are there differences between candidates or between parties that are noticeable?
Each story is different, but a lot of the locals are being used as high impacts. So, the day before the primary, they might do a homepage takeover. A couple of candidates actually are taking that approach. Another approach that I’ve seen in the local space is buying a high share of voice for a certain amount of time in certain sections.
Cross-screen is very important. I’ve seen a very, very direct correlation in the local marketplace with cross-screen messaging.
Something I will say that’s candidate-specific: Trump is not taking that approach. I think that’s been pretty interesting. The 2016 cycle has been completely disrupted by him and all the PR that he’s received, and this has had a ripple effect. It has absolutely had a ripple effect. [Other candidates] are using a variety of strategies to combat all the media attention he’s been given, and trying to hit at the fact that he [doesn’t think very much about these] targeted media placements.
Him aside, the Democratic side seems to be using more of a high impact, page takeover, local approach. The Republican side seems to be using more of a video strategy, which I think is interesting.
Finally, we definitely have seen some candidates trying to explore the location aspect. Not just targeting on the local level, but on the [hyperlocal], personal level. Once candidate just spent [five figures] on marketing through a [location platform] that I won’t name specifically, but it’s definitely a sign that they are exploring that side of things.