Spot-On Ad Predicts….2016 Edition

First, of course, accept our best wishes for a happy  – and winning – New Year.

Last year, Spot-On got some nice notices on our predictions for 2015 – a win! So here’s our take on what political consultants, media buyers and campaigns ought to be looking for in 2016.

– Data breaches. We’ve seen three minor squabbles over data. For our money, this piece is the best look at the back-and-forth between Democrats over models, predicting and software patches. But there’s also the more interesting leak of a national database of name and voting histories possibly by NationBuilder. And the very interesting Cruz campaign voter profiling.

These sorts of leaks and misuses are going to happen again. And again. And eventually the breach isn’t going to be voter info but donor info – and credit cards . Because if it can happen to the IRS, it can happen to your campaign.

– TV stays big, becomes even less effective. Spot-On’s been saying this for years; the rest of the political world is catching up. Our bet is that 2016 is the year that everyone finally starts to believe that television isn’t what it used to be when it comes to finding and reaching voters. Don’t worry, that’ll be after the money’s spent.

– Pollsters really get kicked around. Reliance on TV goes hand in hand with  reliance on pollsters. Just ask David Cameron, Benjamin Netanyahu, Karl Rove and Rahm Emanuel. The old “Buy 2,000 GRPs, move the numbers X%” is broken. This probably isn’t the year that pollsters get completely disintermediated. But it’s the year that going to show some geeky data types how to do just that. And no, online surveys aren’t going to be the answer.

– Going against this trend: The use of early online “message validation” campaigns to create the sort of testing that big campaigns do routinely. Message validation can be scaled to pretty much any budget, saving money on all ad placements, including mail and TV. In the right hands, it’s a powerful tool.

Ad networks will become less effective. A number of publishers have pulled automatic or “programmatic” access to their inventory for political and advocacy use. Spot-On has always believed that direct buying is a better deal for campaigns because it’s safer, more secure and more reliable. If you ad network buy can’t get the local outlets you want – and in three big media markets it’s a lot harder this year than it was last – give us a call.

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