This cycle’s digital spend is projected to exceed the 2018 midterm record by nearly $1 billion. But what are the factors that are driving this growth and how should campaigns and candidates prepare for what’s next?
There are three key drivers of growth that are shaping the advertising industry as a whole, and apply specifically, too, for campaigns looking to break through the noise online. It starts with having a mobile-first strategy, using video, and refining and personalizing the message.
Mobile has the inventory.
Mobile is any content specifically designed for cell phones and tablets as opposed to desktops or laptops. Today, mobile activity really is the bulk of all internet activity as people spend more time on smartphones than any other connected devices.
Online activity isn’t just social media sites, but also millions of websites and thousands of different mobile apps including everything from ESPN+ to Words with Friends.
This proliferation of mobile content is a great opportunity for campaigns because it offers a myriad of opportunities to reach target audiences for lower costs.
There’s now a glut of opportunities to reach people as they spend more and more time on their cell phones. In fact, a majority of adults in 2019 say they’re spending too much time on their devices.
A campaign’s comprehensive mobile strategy should include SMS text messaging, mobile in-app advertising, and mobile-first website and email campaigns.
Video is the medium.
As mobile becomes the preferred platform to consume content, at the same time the type of preferred content has shifted to video. Studies show that globally by 2022, 82 percent of consumer and business IP traffic will be video, projected growth from the current rate of 75 in 2017. The combination of sight, sound, and motion sets is a more engaging experience than simple text or images.
The early internet was driven by images and text. Now, most of what we do online revolves around video. Just think of all the streaming channels, social media videos, connected televisions, and streaming video games.
Previously, the only campaigns that could take video content to voters were those that could afford television advertising. Now, the explosion of these video channels allows campaigns with limited resources to deliver this engaging medium without spending huge sums.
Refine and personalize the message.
Thanks to the growing use of data in advertising, we can make content relevant and personal to the viewer leading to higher engagement rates and better results. Personalizing digital advertising can mean content specific to region, issue, employment industry, even gender or age.
Think about Netflix, for example. It knows what you watch, so it suggests other content to help keep you engaged and using their platform. Otherwise, wading through their sea of movies and television shows would be unbearable.
Digital advertising in the campaigns and elections world is the same. Using data, we can ensure that we aren’t marketing meat products to a vegetarian—after all, if they aren’t interested in your product, why advertise to them?
Campaigns should look to use any data at their disposal to personalize online communications. This could range from the very simple such as adding first names to email correspondence or the complex such as creating dedicated marketing campaigns based on voter modeling scores on specific policy issues.
Digital advertising is going to change the landscape for 2020. The preferred platform are mobile devices, the best medium is video, and the most effective content is personalized. If a campaign applies these three broad themes, it’ll have a successful digital strategy for 2020.
Reid Vineis is VP of Digital at Majority Strategies, a full-service data, digital and print firm that specializes in influencing the opinion and behavior of voters, constituents, and consumers.