The race for the 2020 election has begun. Posturing on both sides of the aisle is amplifying as candidates prepare for elections that will determine party nominees, congressional and senate seats, and the presidential appointment.
The stakes are high. The race to the White House is the world’s most expensive election. The 2016 presidential election cost candidates $6.5 billion in total campaign spending. Political campaign budgets have increased cycle-after-cycle since 1998, with the 2018 midterms registering a 33% increase in election spending — the 2020 election is set to be the biggest yet.
In concert with increased spending power, voter dynamics and media consumption behaviors are shifting. The electorate is skewing younger and is more tech savvy. Thirty-one percent of voters aged 18 to 29 cast ballots in the 2018 midterm elections, shattering turnout rates from the past quarter-century according to an estimate by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.
Despite political spend increasing, spending on traditional TV is declining (Borrell Associates). This is a clear indication that budgets are being more aggressively directed towards digital, with video playing a major role in connecting candidates to the electorate.
The rapid adoption of connected TV (CTV) has changed the way audiences consume media — over 30 million people no longer access TV through traditional cable, and almost three-quarters of U.S. households stream video to a connected device. We are a cross-screen nation with a strong appetite for video content.
Why video is the ideal choice for political campaigns
Video is the most effective way to convey an emotive message that has the ability to inspire voter action at scale. It can be short-form, or long-form, carry personality, empathy, conviction, and relatability — giving candidates a platform to deliver a controlled message.
Video is watched by all demographics, online, on mobile devices, and now on connected TV.
Candidates that embrace a Total Video strategy, utilizing all screen types to capture the hearts and minds of the electorate, will ensure they are reaching voters on the devices they use, within the content they care about, affecting the moments that matter leading up to key decisions.
Data-powered candidates will have an edge
The growth and increasing sophistication of the digital marketplace has enhanced the capacities of political campaigns to identify, target, and reach voters.
Traditional TV will remain a powerful ally in the battle for attention, but digital video (online, mobile, and CTV) provide the ability to selectively target core voter groups with tailored messaging — strengthening the appeal of candidates or influencing political discourse.
Data-driven segmentation enables candidates to reach specific groups of voters with specific messaging. A strong political campaign will speak to the issues that its audience cares about, using data to identify the characteristics and interests of audience segments, which can then be targeted across the screens and on the devices that those audiences choose to watch and engage on.
Examples of Political data segments include:
- Voter registration profiles
- Political interests/issues
- Party affiliation
- Political donors
- Charitable/non-profit contributors
These segments when added to demographic and geographic data can enable candidates to reach groups of people with common interests and characteristics, which improves advertising efficiency — and if properly executed, delivers more relevant ad exposure for voters.
A Total Video strategy is the right choice for political campaigns
There’s no debate that candidates who are smart about how they utilize data to reach the voter groups they want to appeal to will see their campaign budgets spent more efficiently. Candidates that target those segments using a Total Video strategy across trusted and credible content sources will be best placed to deliver their message to the modern voter — and turn video into votes.
This article was written by Paul Calderbank, senior marketing manager at SpotX.
The role of digital marketing in political campaigns, Center for Digital Democracy, Washington, DC, United States of America (Dec 2017).
Political Advertising Report, Borrell Associates (2018).