Ad Buying will look different in 2024. Yes, the media landscape and voters’ viewing habits have been changing for some time, but companies serving the political market are in the process of unveiling an array of new products and tools aimed at making buyers’ lives easier when it comes to challenges like tracking competitive or planning buys.
AdImpact, which until now had been an advertising tracking platform for political, is now offering clients a product aimed to help elevate the latter challenge.
Here’s the short origin story for this new product: Faced with having the backend software that powers its platform deprecated after years of use, AdImpact recently started pouring money into its own software.
The shop hired consultants and programmers, then went out to survey the market on what practitioners really needed in a political media buying platform. The end result is Potomac, a new platform that the company unveiled this week.
One of the biggest elements being touted by AdImpact is that its platform allows media buyers to craft and update a plan within Potomac, something that practitioners had traditionally done offline. Buyers can also see weekly pricing estimates for their buys, noted Harvey Kent, a strategic advisor to AdImpact.
“Everything about Potomac is streamlined for the political buyer,” said Kent. “Literally every manual action is automated in Potomac.”
Kent believes the product is price competitive as well. “We expect to charge no more than they pay today for Strata,” he said, referring to a top media buying and selling software. “We do expect this to be a combination of a license fee plus [number of users].”
Two other things that AdImpact touted about the new offering: geographic accuracy, which can determine which congressional districts and media markets overlap, and historical data. “It has every election in the system,” said Kent. “Every geography, for every Senate district, congressional district, governor — every single geography is in there.”
Another area where AdImpact sought to gain an edge with its product was around the issue of reconciling pre-booked rates with actual rates that a client pays when a client’s bill comes due. There has been a common belief that early booking was a way to guarantee lower rates, but some buyers have raised an alarm recently about that “myth.”
“Potomac is unique in how we ingest rates from sellers,” said Nora Hall, a product lead on Potomac. “We have a cloud-based upload system that keeps track as long as the sellers are uploading new rate cards that allows buyers to see rates as [they] are changing day by day.”
It’s also a system that be accessed from any device, she noted. “You can look at your buys anywhere in the world, at any point on any device,” she said. “You know, how much money am I actually trending to spend this week? Am I hitting my goals?”
Hall said that there will be additional features rolled out to buyers by the end of 2024’s primary season, including a way to upload creative for publisher approvals.
Still, this isn’t the only new tool aimed at the political ad market that’s been unveiled in recent weeks. The Trade Desk and Proximic, a division of Comscore Inc., recently announced they’ve partnered to provide political clients “a new suite of audience segments that reach users based on exposure to specific political campaigns and local TV exposure,” according to the companies.
One of the things the partnership allows clients of TTD is to “target based off of competitive investment,” which could be a huge advantage in the ever-murky world of digital/OTT/CTV competitives.