The 2016 presidential election has been far from run-of-the-mill in almost every aspect. Digital media strategy, in particular, has been more prominent this campaign season than ever before.
Advancements in advertising technology are helping campaign managers take a more nuanced, one-to-one approach in marketing their candidates to the American people. Here's what is working and why programmatic has made its mark on the 2016 election:
Using data to find likely voters
Campaigns have been able to find new voters they didn't necessarily expect in 2016 by deploying audience data—both their own and third party. This method has allowed candidates to see how their advertising campaigns are faring in real time. Rather than waiting for a traditional media buy and analysis to be complete, programmatic marketing can show campaigns how they are doing almost instantly. This immediacy allows campaign managers to test different hypotheses and scale what's working, making media budgets more efficient.
Identifying insights to enhance campaigns
Programmatic has encouraged candidates to learn more about their voters' interests, online actions and affinities. By comparing their own data sets, such as campaign performance data, to other data sets, such as those offered by third-party data providers, campaign managers are gathering detailed insights that impact how they reach prospective voters. For example, knowing that people who donate more than $1,000 to political campaigns typically own iPhones can impact a candidate's mobile advertising strategy.
One-to-one messaging with voters
Each voter is a unique person with a distinct set of interests, biases and viewpoints. In the 2016 election, programmatic advertising allows campaign managers to create messaging that resonates with each individual. The volume of data that is aggregated in the marketplace and the level of decisionmaking possible in real-time bidding gives political ad buyers the ability to inform nearly every ad with knowledge of the user. Candidates have been able to cater their messages to each voter's unique interests. The result is a messaging platform that both speaks the voter's language and speaks to his or her biases.
Keeping up with voters
The campaigns that are running a programmatic digital strategy this year are seeing voters as they are and not who they report to be. By generating insights through programmatic advertising platforms, candidates are learning about the actual actions of online voters and creating hypotheses based on real-world data. As compared to traditional methods of learning about voters, such as polls and surveys, this method of understanding a candidate's voters maximizes scale and limits the potential for bias.
A robust programmatic digital media strategy enables political media executives to spend more time garnering insights and generating hypotheses and less time on things like mundane, precampaign setup or budget allocation. Programmatic has made it easier to find ad inventory, optimize campaigns and determine impact. Campaigns gain real-world knowledge of voter interests, which helps inform messaging, creative and candidate platforms.
Ultimately, through programmatic, candidates have the opportunity to earn more votes by targeting the right individuals with messaging that aligns to their specific values, opinions and priorities.