Many Voters, Multiple Solutions

Here at Spot-On, we focus on strategic implementations while our clients dictate strategy.. But also we read a lot and this piece in the New York Times about how campaign should talking to different voters – maybe the ones that aren’t easy to find – hit a nerve.As the authors point out, it’s hard to reach rural voters. One, bandwidth is not evenly distributed across the U.S. That makes it hard to use this year’s media buyer silver bullet of choice – streaming video – to reach their TVs or laptops. And since incomes in that part of the country are usually lower than on the coasts or in urban areas, mobile phones often have plans with data caps.

Besides, most of the tracking done on the web is for people with incomes to spend on goods and services. If the Internet is a shopping mall and you’re a shopkeeper, you want to catch the attention of the lady with the Platinum Amex, not the guy who pays cash and haggles. That tilts any sort of targeting away from lower income households, young people, those with spotty financial records or recent arrivals who may not be native English speakers or have long U.S. credit histories.

In other words, the exact people that savvy political campaigns want to reach.

The good news is that there are changes in the ad marketplace that will help political and advocacy campaigns. For many strategists, this may sound like old news, but the idea behind a multi-platform approach with an emphasis on context for your ads is gaining traction with the brand ad crowd.

Digital can be used very effectively to introduce an idea, but one of its strongest benefits is frequency and delivering a message multiple times to create familiarity. When you build that familiarity in association with a specific partner, some of the trust that their users have in that brand can rub off on yours. This is valuable if you are trying to build or rebuild your brand.” – MediaPost

Sure sounds like a political ad buyer, doesn’t it? Substitute “partner” for TV station, and you’d think it’s 1988 all over again.

Part and parcel of this so-called new way of thinking is the idea that buyers need to look at multiple platforms for discrete chores.So savvy buyers aren’t spending their digital dollars in one place, figuring one platform works on the Internet the way their local cable operator does on TV. Instead, brand buyers are starting to parse out tasks based on a platform’s strengths.

For reaching folks who aren’t easily targeted, almost nothing beats a direct ad buy on a trusted local news site.

This particularly works for segments that campaigns are anxious to reach this year – rural Americans, African-Americans and those who have a preference for news and communication in other languages. Recent U.S. arrivals and lower-income households read local news more, according to a Pew Research survey. Most of the people regularly reading a local news site are voters – that’s been repeatedly verified with surveys on all sorts of sites across the country.

Direct buying doesn’t rely on income or financial behavior to find engaged viewers; its strength is that it covers a county, city or town – the very place where voters are centered. It’s the ultimate context play: ads about current events (elections) surrounded by similar editorial (news stories about campaigns, current and local events.

Plus, there’s the security feature: Know where your ads run, how much you paid and how they performed. Oh, and for the most part, those performance rates will put your targeted programmatic buy to shame.

Spot-On has seen a lot more emphasis on direct buying this year. And since we’ve been preaching the value of direct for some time, we’re gratified by the shift.

Wanna learn more? Send us an email and we’ll tell you about how we put video on small rural news sites, the fabulous click-through rates we see on new stand-along journalism sites and how we think the shift to direct buying helps campaigns prepare for a year of massive upheaval in the ad tech marketplace.