Spotlight Blog

The Year Ahead: Same as It Never Was

Political people all talk about how this cycle – which by Spot-On’s estimates started sometime last year – is going to be different. For everyone.

We think that’s a safe bet. But we’d like to take this opportunity to throw some gasoline on that fire.


And yes, we’re yelling.

Unlike past years, this is the only prediction we’re making this year. Why? Because – looking at Silicon Valley as both experienced insiders and as political buyers – we see fear, trepidation and concern when it comes to political advertising. All of which will encourage companies to shy away from online political placements.

Here are some of the factors we’re looking and how they may change the political ad market.

First, let’s talk about the money. Political ad revenue for online soared to about $1 billion in 2016. Yes, that’s lots of dough – anywhere but in Silicon Valley. For Google and Facebook, it’s less than 1% of their combined total revenue. But it’s 100% of their bad PR.

Bad PR for many tech companies, especially those that are what’s known as consumer-facing (Snapchat, Spotify, Facebook, Pandora), often comes down to avoiding complaints about the ‘user experience.’ This is why they have rules about ad lengths and sizing that aren’t anything like what you’re used to with TV. Old school media – TV, print, radio – relies on geography to herd users. On the web, users come and go. You want them to stay around? They have to have a good experience – they have to really like you.

This reasoning is why a lot of online outlets flatly reject ‘negative’ political ads and it’s why more will start rejecting all political ads, especially those for candidates.

It’s also why Facebook is changing the priority it gives items that appear in its users’ feeds. Last week’s announcement about creating more “meaningful” experience for Facebook is code for giving users “more pleasant” experiences. And that means a lot less political engagement.

There’s more. The U.S. Congress is not happy with the state of the online ad business. Nor is the Federal Elections Commission or the Federal Trade Commission.

Their companies are varied and long. In three separate hearings before the U.S. Congress and Senate, tech executives did not acquit themselves well. Facebook managed to frustrate Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on the same day and almost in the same manner. As they say in Washington, that shows a rare and special talent.

What’s bugging Congress? It’s a long list. There are the fears about Russian interference and the concern that similar tactics can be deployed by U.S. campaigns agains their opponents (in the current environment, they can). There’s a general sense of unease created by the Equifax data breach which is feeding concerns about data tracking, data management and what Facebook and Google ‘know’ about users. There are concerns about the black-box nature of online ad buying.

Put another way: The folks who are represented by online advertising like what it does – reach voters – but they don’t trust the people who are selling it. So look for clients to start asking tough questions about where their ads are running and why.

Traditional news outlets see this as an opportunity. A few are thinking about taking political inventory off the automated buying exchanges, looking to use political as a way to bust what they describe as “The Duopoly” between Facebook and Google.

Oh, and then there’s the technical stuff. Safari’s new web browser doesn’t allow cookie tracking for ads. More folks use mobile – which doesn’t work with cookies – for their online interaction. And new rules in Europe are preventing the use of personal information without that users consent. So as much faith as you may have in voter file matching – well, you might want to find a new church.

What do do? Brace – really brace – for change. Don’t rely on last year’s experience and certainly don’t rely on anything that happened in 2016. In “Internet Years” that was a lifetime ago.

For more insights, have a look at Spot-On’s best practices white paper. Send us an email and we’ll send one over.

And if that’s not enough, you can follow us on Twitter or hang with us on Facebook where we offer regular updates, commentary and help navigating a dynamic and changing environment.

Why Russians Matter To Your Campaign

Let’s talk about Russians.

Let’s talk about the Russians and online ads and Facebook and what they may have done and what it means for the future of political online ad buying.. Because it’s important. And it’s going to matter to your campaign.

First, what happened? Well, start with the online ad campaign that Giles-Parscale ran for President Trump. In his public statements, Brad Parscale has been clear: He did what every brand advertiser does and took advantage of the power, reach and ubiquity of online to push ads out supporting Donald Trump’s candidacy.

When ads didn’t work – they didn’t lead people to the candidates site – they came down. When they did, they stayed up until they didn’t work. At one point, Giles-Parscale was reported to be running 60,000 different ads at one time.

That’s it. There may be some nuances in this account but they’re just that – nuances. At the end of the day the Trump online campaign boiled down to this: Use as much money as you need to buy as many ads as you can making sure those ads are performing as well as they can.

This is where the Russians come sneaking in. And this is probably why special counsel Robert Mueller is looking hard and long at ‘social’ media sites as he investigates the Trump campaigns connections to Russian attempt to influence the 2018 election.

The ad server data from the campaign described above – like ALL server data – would provide a valuable starting point for anyone wanting to use social media to boost – let’s call them nefarious ideas – about Hillary Clinton, the U.S. election process or pretty much anything else. And that data can be shared simply by giving someone a password and log-in. It’s done all the time on brand campaigns (and some political, too).

For instance, let’s say an ad touting President Trump’s support of the 2nd Amendment did really well in Nashville, TN. Someone – anyone – could use that information to start a Facebook group for Nashville residents to share their views on the 2nd Amendment. The group would get started by asking people who may have joined pro-Trump groups on Facebook to “like” or “share” news about the new 2nd Amendment group and its members.

This bad actor could join more groups as she found more people sharing her “interests” all the while pumping in links to (real or imagined) stories about Hillary Clinton’s anti-gun stance, and of course, layering on other claims as the election neared. Note, this has little to do – except for the very important data – with the online ad campaign. The two can run in parallel, not in concert.

So what does this mean? Well, in combination with a lot of bad feelings toward Facebook and Instagram on other fronts, it almost certainly means the end of self-service political ad buying. Either Congress or the FEC will put an end to automated buying.

What’s automated buying? It’s the way most political ads are bought. You have a DSP? You’re buying automatically. You have a vendor who buys Google display or search? That’s automated, too. And automated buying doesn’t have a lot of restrictions: No disclaimers, no substantiation, no standards and practices. All you need is a credit card and a web browser.

Along the way, we’re probably going to see some sort of standard setting online campaigns for disclosures – something that most local news outlets enforce and a practice Google and Facebook have been successfully putting off for years.

Why? Well, standard setting and review mean that both companies have to use humans to look at and evaluate ads. It also means both companies will need to decide what they will and won’t tolerate – and stick with it, consistently and without regard for political affiliation or message.

These are chores traditionally handled by – wait for it – media companies. And if there’s one thing Google and Facebook have sworn they are not, is media companies.

Why? Media companies employee people and Silicon Valley hates people. People are an overhead expense that breathes, not the kind that can run all night on a battery pack. People make mistakes . They’re also expensive – reducing that $450 million Facebook made on political to something like $350 million (still a fraction of a fraction of the $33 billion the company took in last year).

Automated buying can make a company money 24/7/365. But it has no sense of humor or ability to read a disclaimer and know it’s following the law. It may take a while – automated ad buying is hugely popular with a variety of political firms because it’s cheap and easy – but it’s time the political ad buying market matured. Because what the Russians can do today your opponent can do tomorrow.

Campaign tools: Digital media, geo-fencing — and more

This article appeared in Capitol Weekly.

For years, the Silicon Valley mantra was “The Internet changes everything.” These days it’s more accurate to say “The Internet is always changing.”

That’s why the conventional wisdom about online ad targeting and other digital means of finding voters can easily slip out of date. Things are always changing.

 For a few years, some vendors claimed to be able to match voter data to ad placements with a success rate of more than 60%.

That’s possible – but only if you’re running a national campaign that uses other demographic data to bolster voter information reaching millions of online ad viewers over a period of several months. With a potential audience below one million and a short time frame, matching is considered a huge success at 40% – and that rarely happens.

Why? Well, the Internet is good at compressing space and time. Anyone can buy a can of Coca Cola from anywhere at any time – as long as they have an Internet connection. Voting is restricted to specific places and times and only some people can participate. And if you take a look at how voter file matching to cookies and IP address actually works, you see the problems compound pretty quickly as accuracy degrades.

The “data” that any voter file vendor provides to a digital match service  is ALWAYS redacted. What’s removed is called “Personally Identify Information” or PII.

 What’s PII? Your name, your date-of-birth, your physical address, in some cases your phone numbers and email address. What’s left? Voting history and party affiliation.

Those two points – and only those – are used to buy “cookies” – a name for a computer code that tracks users’ online activity via web browsers. The cookies purchases are based on characteristics shared with other people who have similar voting history and party affiliation.  Those cookies are then matched to IP addresses against zip codes which further degrades the accuracy.

There’s loss at every point in the chain, especially when the PII is stripped out. More of a problem: cookies don’t work with mobile devices. And increasingly, mobile is the best way to reach voters.

So now we have a new silver bullet: “geo-fencing”  as a way to target voters. But that familiar term has taken on new and interesting definitions in the political sphere. Geo-fencing is NOT targeting ads to a specific Congressional District using IP addresses matched to zip codes. That’s a constant of any online buy. Geo-fencing is NOT recording a mobile device ID and tracking that phone to make a subsequent call to that user. That activity is illegal.

Geo-fencing IS the use of cell tower locations and mobile activity to reach a group of specific people at a particular time and location. It can be used to put your GOTV message up in a 1-mile radius of a polling place on election day. It can be used to “talk” to potential voters at rally or large event and secure their permission to contact them at a later date.

Even without the move to mobile, our firm, Spot-On, has seen plenty of evidence that tight targeting doesn’t work as well as it does with mail or even cable TV. Our firm regularly splits client’s online ad buys between those aimed at a specific district and the  larger area around the district.

Our clients have consistently seen little or no difference in engagement between tightly targeted ads (district only) and more general placements (citywide). And they’ve won.

Spot-On has had great success with and encourages clients to  use ‘rich’ media – audio, video, expanding ads, ads that take over a page for a set period of time – on local high-traffic news sites simulating a TV-like experience. Those sites are voter-rich: more than 60% of regular news readers are regular voters. Which is why rich media placements ALWAYS leads to higher engagements. They also bump up engagement rates for other less dramatic placements.

Rich media grabs the reader’s attention and sends them to a site where they learn more about a candidate or campaign. And that, at the end of the day, is the reason to buy an ad, isn’t it?

The long-standing emphasis in the political market on targeting is a legacy, a way to make sure that the large sums of money needed for mail, field, phone GOTV and TV weren’t wasted. And while many statewide and national campaigns can and should use voter targeting and matching, for most consultants and campaigns a broader online strategy combined with targeted mail and cable buys produces a 360-degree media buy that’s compelling and victorious.

Clarity Needed

It may seem hard to believe but all the talk about online ad fraud, transparency and accountability is – eventually – going to help clean up the political ad market. But first, we’re going to see some serious realignment.

Some has already started as established firms run for cover, getting bought by larger entities, taking on new roles with the infusion of an equity investment or working on building hope into their business models.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Last year’s winning digital firm – Giles-Parscale – doesn’t appear interested in becoming the big dog of Washington, D.C.-based online consulting. So there’s a vacuum – no one to buy out other firms, hire free-floating staff or generally shake things up.

Second, a lot of the promises made about targeting, online outreach and data weren’t realistic – and clients are catching on.

Partly they’re catching on because coverage of the mess that is ad tech for brands is getting news coverage and scrutiny.

Take this: Chase Bank, a huge online ad buyer discovered that fewer ads, placed on better quality sites worked better than lots of ads placed – oh, who knows where? Spot-On particularly liked this discovery; if you’ve ever heard us give advice about high-impact fixed placements you know we were ahead of the bank.

Or this example: The Guardian is suing Rubicon, an online ad placement exchange. Why? The website asked Rubicon to sell ads for them but the revenue doesn’t appear to have ended up in The Guardian’s wallet. Instead there were mysterious “fees.”

How about this? The head of P&G – you know the guys who spend millions promoting consumer goods like Tide and Crest – says online advertising needs to clean up it’s act.

Much of this is frustration: Advertisers AND publisher are tied of Google dominance of the ad marketplace and they see these problems as way to assert their long-treasured and much-eroded control over placement and pricing. They’re also sick of cavalier re-sellers who promise quality advertisers and placements but end up placing junk that turns readers away or, worse, offends them.

Although very few political shops are willing to admit it, much of the online inventory they secure is little more than resold Google ad placements, much of it less valuable than clients are told That’s the real reason resellers are struggling.

What to do? Spot-On has a number of suggestions but the main one is to plan your online ad buy they way you would any other aspect of the campaign. Start early, think about integration with mail and field and collect your own data and metrics. That will tell you what placements work, which should be avoided and how voters read your candidate, cause and messaging.

Help is on the way – a saner online ad market will emerge from all this wailing and finger-pointing. But it’s going to be a bit of a rough ride.

If you need further help, get a copy of Spot-On’s Best Practices White Paper, a 10-step guide for navigating the political marketplace. It’s free! Just drop us a note and we’ll send one over – pronto.

The Year Ahead: Seat Belts Required

The great Bette Davis summed it up nicely. Fasten those seat belts, kids, 2017 IS going to be a bumpy ride. But probably not for all of the reasons you might expect.

Here at Spot-On we focus on tactics and mechanics. So our year ahead projections – like this pretty good one from last year – look at the stuff no one says they care about. Or, perhaps more accurately, the stuff no one cares about until it breaks.

A lot broke in 2016. So, without further ado, here are Spot-On’s predictions for 2017, the year ahead.

Hacking is real and it can happen to you. Yeah, we know, this Russia-DNC stuff sounds like a wacky spy thriller. But when President-elect Trump said that “a 14 year old” could hack John Podesta’s email he wasn’t entirely wrong. Hacking programs that ‘phish’ for passwords and log-ins are easily acquired and the “social hacking” – that’s when a pissed-off former staffer gives your log-ins to your opponent  – is almost certain to come to political campaigns this year.

Footnote: Change your passwords regularly – especially if you fire people. Make sure your office wifi routers have firewalls. Deploy two-step authorizations for log-ins. And, don’t assume your vendor is keeping you safe.

Hacking’s cousin, ad fraud, is here to stay. The brand advertising world went into a meltdown before Christmas over the news that a sophisticated group of professional hackers had robbed them blind. This was not a bunch of 14 year-old script kiddies up for a little afternoon fun. No, this was a organized effort – a business – that falsified Internet Protocol address to create ad views that well, weren’t.

Footnote: “IP Addresses”  are mistakenly beloved because some people think they’re static like a small mail address. They aren’t. And a ‘cookie’ generated by a voter list and sent to a fake address is still an ad no one saw.

Firms you know and love will go away. Lots of ad and other tech firms got into political in 2016. Most will go away. Some will disappear as they get bought as the fall-out from ad fraud continues. Some will disappear because they don’t understand ‘off’ years. And some will just evaporate because the $1b they thought they’d get just for showing up in 2016 didn’t land in their pockets.

Footnote: Spot-On doesn’t care who was in political in 2016. It’s the folks who are here with us in 2017 we care about.

Polling isn’t dead. It’s just resting. Well, polling as we knew it is dead. What’s going to take it’s place? Best bet: rolling your own “data.” What does that mean? Using firms that canvas, measure and look at your specific campaign audience before you do your media buys and messaging instead of relying on off-the-shelf historic data that predicts what’s clearly no longer as predictable as it once was.

Footnote: You know that financial firm warning: “Past performance is not an indication of future returns”? ALL political campaigns need to adopt that mantra.

Help is on the way. Confused? Worried? Dissatisfied? Don’t be. Spot-On’s (free) best practices white paper – our version of a seat belt – will be released (for free) at the end of January with fanfare, confetti and a lot of bragging and no price tag. Want to reserve your copy?  Send us an email and we’ll get you on the list (really, no charge).

And if that’s not soon enough, you can follow us on Twitter or hang with us on Facebook where we offer regular updates and comments and “told you so’s”.

FBI on Line One….

If I had to sum up the problem with online efforts and political people – all political people -, the interaction between the DNC and the FBI pretty much sums it up. Someone calls to talk about their email server being compromised and they’re sent to the help desk. 

That noise you hear is 1,000,000 computer nerds. Laughing and crying at the same time.


Cleaning Up

There’s a lot to be said about the 2016 election and it will take a long time for everyone to say it. So let us get our U.S. 2 cents in now.

In our yearly predictions, Spot-On said this would be the year that “Pollsters really get kicked around.” We also suggested there would be data breaches as well as an increasing reliance on ineffective ad network buys.

Okay, so we’re showing off. Most of what we predicted has happened. The NYTimes even said so (see if you can spot the familiar faces in the mood-setting art shot….). 

Predictions are nice; facts are better. So just before the election, Spot-On ran a formal survey to see what trends are out there – for us and for our customers. The survey ran in September and October and the results are pretty interesting.

One surprise: Digital familiarity, comfort and expertise isn’t party affiliated. It breaks down by age. Older consultants don’t “get it” so they either don’t buy or leave decisions about online to their TV buyers.  Younger ones “get it” but are willing to hand off strategy to middle-men. Either way, Spot-On sees room for improvement.

Another key finding: Spending for digital really was up this year. More than 60% of the folks who took the survey said they’ve either kept budgets the same or increased them – some as much as 25%.

We promised a case of wine to folks to randomly selected survey participants. Winners are Andrew Meyers over at Amplified Strategies in Seattle. And Gordon Luckman, a consultant in Brooklyn. How’d we make the selections: Jersey numbers of baseball team pitchers, in this case Cal Ripkin (How ’bout them O’s, hon?) and Madison Bumgarner (Go Giants!).

Our final conclusions on all this will be released early next year as a “Best Practices” white paper. Want a copy? Send us an email and we’ll save you one.

In the meantime – look, you can take the girl out of the newsroom but you can’t take the newsroom out of the girl – Spot-On Founder Chris Nolan has been talking and writing.

Last week, she had a piece in AdWeek talking about the need for clearer standards for digital advertising. If your campaign’s run into this sort of static – arbitrary creative requests, bans on certain kinds of speech – give us a call to discuss what happened. We’re gearing up for some frank talks with publishers earlier next year.

The AdWeek piece was preceded by some comments Nolan made to Campaigns & Elections magazine about ad fraud and how easy it is for unscrupulous vendors to take advantage of political buyers.

Elections are over. But we’ve got work to do. Want to keep  up with what we’re up to? Follow us on Twitter or hang with us on Facebook where we offer regular updates and comments.



The Last Year That Digital Didn’t Know How to Handle Election Ads?

This article appeared in AdWeek 

Political professionals will use the word “watershed” when they talk about

2016 for many reasons.  For those of us in digital advertising, 2016 is the year spending went from a river to a flood.

But many of the boats lifted in this rising tide were piloted by inexperienced captains. Their naïveté has created potentially dangerous currents for those of us who respect free speech in political discourse—no matter how critical or sometimes harsh it is.

With a projected $1 billion on the table for online ad buys before elections started, it was clear that campaigns were going to buy a lot more advertising on mobile phones, tablets and computers. And spend they did. It’s estimated that Facebook alone took in $300 million in political ad dollars.

There’s more on the way. My firm, Spot-On, recently surveyed political campaign managers and ad buyers. Almost 60 percent characterized the digital market as “an emerging channel that I want to understand better”. The same number said they had increased their spending this year, some by as much as 25 percent.

But this tsunami of cash has triggered behavior illustrating just how unprepared—and silly—online publishers get when faced with questions about political ads.

Facebook CEO Marc Zuckerberg intervened to stop his employees from labeling Donald Trump’s comments as “hate speech,” but similar discussions are occurring outside that walled garden. Across the Internet, online publishers are making arbitrary and capricious demands on political advertisers.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Tronc’s ad/ops techs refused to run an endorsement ad until they were provided with a letter giving a California Assembly candidate permission to use Gov. Jerry Brown’s image. That’s unusual to say the least. Brown’s endorsement is public record.
  • Spotify rejected an ad, saying it was a “negative attack ad” because it claimed the candidate’s opponent was “just like Donald Trump.” More troubling? Spotify didn’t make that classification. The designation was made by a programmatic middleman firm’s “audit review.” A faceless third party characterized the ad before it got to publishers and well before it got to voters.
  • Pandora, the Internet “radio” service, insists that all political advertising carry a “Paid for by …” disclaimer. That disclaimer is required by California law, where Pandora is headquartered. It’s not required for Congressional or other federal candidates—in California or elsewhere. This problem isn’t limited to Pandora—publishers’ disclaimer requirements vary wildly and are often not in keeping with the law.
  • Almost all local news outlets raised their prices, creating massively inflated “political” rates for direct buyers. To cite two examples: The Denver Post’s ad price ballooned to more than two and half times normal (more than The New York Times). McClatchy imposed a 25 percent “premium” on political ads running within 10 days of election day.

Candidates want to be online because that’s where voters are spending time. But outlets should not be in the business of picking winners by deciding the quality, nature or tenor of political ads.

With his eye on Facebook’s bottom line, Zuckerberg put down a “mini-mutiny” about Donald Trump’s comments. He made the right decision. But who’s going to tell the ad/ops guy at tronc that Jerry Brown’s endorsement is public record? Can we expect the same treatment for a Republican candidate? Who’s going to challenge the faceless review process that labeled “Just like Donald Trump” as a negative statement? Clearly Trump’s children would disagree and my bet is they use Spotify (or used to…).

As things stand now, it’s up to each campaign to argue the law and navigate unchartered waters. Frustration abounds.

There’s a solution. Online publishers can imitate cable companies. Cablers are not required to observe the Federal Communications Commission regulations for political ads. But they do. During election season, cable and broadcast have similar pricing structures, standards and review processes. Every political ad maker knows how it works—one reason political money keeps flowing to TV.

The Internet Advertising Bureau or Digital Content Next could easily bring online parties together to set some basic guidelines and standards for political ad review and placement. Here are some ideas to get them started:

  • Do away with “attack”, “negative” or “positive” classifications across the board. These characterizations are for voters to make.
  • Put political review and policy making in the hands of people who understand the laws governing political speech—not brand management or customer service.
  • To guide those reviewers, create baseline standards: Is an ad factual? Can the claim be documented? Where? Require that ads with critical claims link to a website providing that evidence.
  • Establish a clear pricing structure. TV rates go up at election time because there’s more demand and limited supply. That’s not always true for online ad inventory, which can be purchased via third parties. Publishers need to account for multiple points of sale when they raise rates and set arbitrary guidelines.

This was a good year to espouse left-center, left-leaning causes, as Spotify, tronc and some Facebook employees clearly have. But political tides ebb and flow. Today’s conventional wisdom can be tomorrow’s punch line.

That’s why it’s important for publishers to act now, to anchor sound business practices that are clear, straightforward and, most of all, fair. The year’s deluge of online ad dollars is clearly a sign of a robust market—with more to come. But it needs to be channeled and managed, soon, while the floodwaters are receding,  not as the next high tide of money arrives for a sure-to-be contentious 2018 election season.

A Gentle Reminder

A few weeks ago, Spot-On wrote and asked you to help us survey the online ad market for political.

We’re back this week repeating that request. We know you’re slammed. But when it comes to asking you what you’re thinking about media, advertising and your campaigns, there is no better time for experts like you to give us your valuable opinions.

It’s top of your mind.

Here at Spot-On, we’d like to start a realistic conversation about what online can do – and what it can’t. Want to know how bad we think it is? Read here what Spot-On Founder Chris Nolan had to say to Campaigns & Elections. Or check out this story on video ad fraud.

To do that – do it honestly, do it with intelligence – to be the most helpful to you and your campaigns in the years ahead we need to know what you think. Because there’s one thing for sure: You know more than we do.

Let’s be clear: This is not an attempt to data mine, to embarrass any one group of people or any party. It is pure research. We’re collecting information anonymously and we’ll keep it that way.

The survey closes on 10/30. We promised a case of wine to a randomly selected winner by election day. To make deadline, we’ll need to close responses by then.

Plenty of time. So click here. Tell us what you think. Make your next online campaign one that’s got impact and accountability – so winning will be that much easier.

Thank you. We appreciate your valuable time.

Clip Service: News for Busy People

You’ve been busy launching campaigns. We’ve been busy helping you build online ad plans. Now it’s time to get on that con-call and talk about it. Or listen. Lots of listening.

To pass the time, Spot-On is here with some light reading. You know, while you’re listening. This is our list of recent and interesting stories that may well affect the political ad space.

We begin with an earlier theme, the pivot to mobile. Google’s started with some tweaks to ad design. Facebook followed by announcing the shut down of a popular desktop ad buying platform,

Then there are some “long reads” on how the digital ad market is going to change. Here’s a look at TV and online and here’s something on Verizon (mobile company!) and it’s approach to fly-over country. Both have implications for the way we’re doing business today.

There’s the bureaucratic policy stuff. Sounds a little boring. It’s not.

The double-whammy from the Federal Communications Commissions telling large carriers like Comcast and AT&T that they can’t sell users’ data and opening up set-top boxes to CES and computer company vendors has implications for how advertising data is recorded, sold and packaged. In short, Neilsen and Strata do not own the future.

And some think the FCC is just getting started on how it might regulate and oversee the online world.

Underscoring those trends: Time Warner just bought a slice of Hulu. That’s the beginning,  not the end, of these old-new media mergers. Also worth noting: one of the biggest media fights of the convention was over the use of feeds for streaming services.

On the online front: The FTC’s been asked to look at ad fraud. In short, the future won’t belong to one-stop banner ad shops. Put another way: Silicon Valley sales guys aren’t exactly trustworthy as one of them freely confesses. 

But here’s something that will make you smile. That Chewbacca lady? She knows how to make a good online political ad. She’s warm. She’s personal. She’s friendly. This approachable approach is ideal for the one-to-one nature of online. Especially when it’s on mobile.

Want to get your con-call entertainment on a more regular basis? Follow us on Twitter or hang with us on Facebook.