Campaigns have an unprecedented amount of money to spend in the frenzied final stretches of the campaign.
In a cycle where a record $5.2 billion is projected to be spent by candidates, groups, and parties, at least half a billion dollars will go out of the door in the final two weeks of the campaign, the Center for Responsive Politics estimates.
If your digital firm or internal team has the bandwidth, here’s what a group of consultants asked by C&E advised doing — and avoiding.
Put your name and logo up front
Because there’s so much last-minute digital spending this cycle, the odds that you will capture voters’ attention with, say, an ominously narrated recap of outrages from the last 24 months is zero, according to California-based digital consultant Brian Ross Adams.
In fact, he advises operating on the assumption that your viewer will have a one-second attention span for your video.
“That's how much of a viewer’s attention you will get at this point so put your logo upfront,” he said, adding: Ditch the call to action. “It’s go time.”
Push early voting and go live
Matt Farrar, co-founder of Florida-based Strategic Digital Services, believes campaigns can still wring some engagement from their online audiences in the next few days — albeit with a short video. “Fifteen seconds or less is great in the final week to keep your voters’ attention,” he said. “We’ve seen a lot of engagement and views in the last few weeks come from videos with detailed post text, as well.”
He suggested a CTA based on your state’s voting methods. “If you have the ability to use custom audiences for absentee and early voting, do it,” Farrar said. “And don’t forget about live video in the home stretch to show supporters a first-person view of rallies, bus tours, and big events.”
Ditch the crane or drone shots
Your audience is most likely viewing your ad on a mobile screen — without volume. Maybe on a bus, or while cooking dinner. With that in mind, the Democratic digital firm DSPolitical advised campaigns to opt for “pure visuals, where no sound is needed, and/or build in subtitles so the audience can read along.”
Things to avoid: cinematic crane shots or long depth-of-field. They may “look great on a huge screen, but are impossible to absorb on a phone.”
Lastly, enormous sums of money are still going to fund TV spots in the closing days of the midterm campaign. Yes, prime inventory is at a premium — or already booked. But for those campaigns still finalizing closing spots, it’s good practice to pay particular attention to what has already been performing well for your campaign online.
“This year’s winners,” said Andrew Bleeker of Bully Pulpit Interactive, “will invert the model” of putting their TV ad on a digital platform. Instead, they’ll lead “with authentic and compelling stories that work online and then translate them to television.”