The story of OTT and CTV last election was one of growing adoption on the part of political advertisers. This cycle it’s going to be more of a necessity for campaigns and groups. And if you’re not in that space, it’s very likely your opponent will be.
The growing viewership on connected televisions “does complicate the way in which folks think about how they buy TV, how they buy high-impact video, [and] what the relationship is between broadcast linear television and digital TV,” said Jacob Garber, senior director of media and planning at DSPolitical.
“So we’re doing a lot of thinking about, how do we make digital television more accessible to our clients? So that when we think about a media program, it doesn’t necessarily exist in silos of digital, mail, traditional, but it is one powerful, reiterative messaging force that leads our clients” to winning elections.
An interesting twist on roles that Garber, an alum of Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, and other planning leads occupy in the industry: because a decent amount of prime OTT and CTV inventory is purchased direct, good relationships with vendors selling that inventory will be key in 2022.
“It is both about tapping into the right inventory and knowing where you can access the inventory, and then knowing your ability to reach your target audience on that inventory. It would be lovely if you could buy all connected TV and OTT programmatically, and target all your first-party audience, but we know there are a handful of things that stand in the way of that.”
As a result, firms like DSPolitical need to cultivate relationships with outside vendors, Garber explained, “so that when you say that you’re on digital televisions, you’re on all of them talking to the right voters, not just on a small subset of them because those are the ones that you can access.”
Another challenge for Garber is making sure that his clients can effectively target the right audiences in an environment where “targeting is becoming significantly more complicated.”
“The online signals that we can use to identify the best voter for a persuasion campaign have changed substantially over the last year,” he said.
“What somebody can do on Facebook now is not what they could do two months ago even with that roll back of their ability to target based on political interests and social-issue interest categories.”
Moreover, with the demise of the cookie, many third-party data segments that political marketers relied upon “aren’t particularly viable any more.”
That makes voter-file targeting an even more important tool in 2022 when it comes to “identifying the folks you need to reach on a one-to-one basis,” he said. “Where it becomes particularly important, is not just in identifying those folks, but making sure that after you’ve identified them that you can match them online and find the whole swath of inventory based on where these folks are online.”