Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Voters Unite in Interest, Differ on News Sources

This presidential election cycle has grabbed the public's attention, whether via TV or social media, in an unprecedented way. The most recent Pew Research Center survey finds that 91% of Americans have already tuned into election information--a higher level of learning about presidential candidates than at the same point in the past two presidential elections. Yet, while united in overall interest, the electorate differs widely on which media are the most helpful sources of information, with no one source gaining more than a quarter of adult favor-- so campaigns definitely can't put all their eggs in one media basket. Overall, voters rate cable TV news as the most helpful (24%), followed by social media (14%) and local TV (14%). At the bottom (1%) is candidate or campaign digital outreach via website/app/e-mail. Unsurprisingly, preferences are affected by age, education level and political party, Pew reports. Cable television is most popular with those 65 and older and Republicans, while soical media is the favorite information source of 18- to 29-year-olds. Just as important for campaign planners is the fact that the majority of voters learn about the presidential election from multiple sources ( 45% from five or more and 35% from three or four), compared with only 9% who get information from just one source. TV still tops the media mix, with 78% of Americans saying they learned about the presidential reace from at least one of the four TV-based sources (cable news, local news, national network news, late-night comedy). Another 65% list a digital platform as one of their information sources (news website, social site, issue-based site/app/e-mail or campaign group site/app/e-mail). Print newspapers are at the bottom of the information heap (cited by 36%). And before investing in a broad social media push, campaigns also should note that Facebook far outranks other sites as a political source (37% of the public). In contrast, Trump's go-to Twitter is sourced by just 9%. For more detail, read http://www.journalism.org/2016/02/04/the-2016-presidential-campaign-a-news-event-thats-hard-to-miss/

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Don't Let Digital Ad-Blocking Hobble Your Campaign

Ad blocking by digital and mobile viewers is a growing challenge for political campaigns and causes in the 2016 election cycle, and video ads are especially vulnerable, warns a recent AdExchanger.com post. There are already 45 million monthly active ad-blocking users in the U.S., and ad-blocker usage is growing rapidly. Ad-blocking rates vary by region, from a low of 8% in Washington, D.C. to over 14% in a swing state like New Hampshire. Besides ad blocking, voters--especially millennials--are engaging in ad skipping thanks to skippable digital ads and ad-skipping DVRs. And with ad-free digital video subscriptions, more voters are able to avoid political videos. What can campaigns do? The article suggests several strategies to dodge ad blockers and maximize the viewing run of online display, mobile and video ads. Start by asking digital content providers how they handle anti-ad blocking, such as withholding content if ads are blocked or employing a tech solution to defend agaist ad blockers. Since ad blocking rates vary by site vertical and environment, take that into account in media buys--for example, ad blockers are less effective with mobile native apps than with mobile web browsers. When it comes to video ads, go for premium viewing, such as major media and broadcast sites, to combat viewer drop off due to poor ad stream quality, overall low viewability and even fraudulent impressions. Of course, personalized targeting decreases ad avoidance, and programmatic and other precise viewer targeting can help. For the full article, go to http://adexchanger.com/politics/how-will-political-campaigns-reach-voters-who-are-avoiding-ads/

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mobile Is Key to Targeting 2016 Minority Voters

Mobile devices will play a key role for candidates and causes wooing Hispanic and African-American voters in 2016, per a new Interactive Advertising Bureau study reported by Adweek magazine. The study found that 67% of Hispanic voters and 60% of black voters say they visit digital political sites on their smartphones. That minority mobile preference compares with 49% of voters overall who say they access political sites via mobile. And just in case campaigners discount the importance of digital communications overall, the same IAB study found that 35% of all voters said digital media will be their most important method of learning about presidential candidates, and 61% said digital combined with television will be "primary information sources" in 2016 political races. Anna Bager, senior vice president and general manager of mobile and video at IAB, concluded to Adweek: "U.S. Hispanic and African-American voters are crucial to candidates, and this research shows that mobile is the best way to reach them." For more findings from the study, see http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/mobile-ads-will-be-key-targeting-2016s-hispanic-and-black-voters-169191

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Political Ads Scramble for TV Time, Winning Formula

The TV ad battles in the 2016 political race are heating up, reports The New York Times, and we haven't even reached the primaries. At the same time, candidates and their super PACs are still struggling to find a formula that will translate ad dollars into votes. In 2015, candidates and their allies already spent nearly $100 million on political advertising, including $72 million in Iowa and New Hampshire alone, Kantar Media/CMAG estimated for the NYT story. Now campaigns are feverishly grabbing for TV ad space ahead of the primaries, and negative attack ads are on the rise. “We’re getting down to the firing-squad part of the campaign,” Larry McCarthy, the strategist making ads for Right to Rise, the super PAC supporting Jeb Bush, told the NYT. Yet the biggest spenders, such as the Bush PACs, have reaped only scant improvement in the polls for their efforts. Factors include a changed TV ad landscape thanks to media-master Donald Trump, who has generated hundreds of millions of dollars of free TV time from news coverage and debates, and a failure to break through with distinct content to the target audiences, say analysts. When Right to Rise (Bush PAC), New Day for America (Kasich PAC) and America Leads (Christie PAC), which spent an estimated $26.4 million combined in New Hampshire in 2015, all air an ad focused on Islamic terrorism, no one candidate stands out for voters. As candidates start to recast tactics and budgets (and Trump launches his first paid TV ads), 2015 TV spending is likely to be dwarfed, opined Ken Goldstein, a University of San Francisco professor of politics tracking advertising: “It seems like that was a bunch of money this fall, but that was just the sorbet before the main course. That wasn’t even the appetizer.” To see a current sampling of political TV ad messages, go to the NYT story: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/08/us/politics/ad-wars-of-2016-campaign-erupt-in-a-changing-tv-arena.html

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Prep for Social Media Crowding in 2016 Election

Social media marketing has become an essential part of political candidate and cause campaigning in the 2016 election, building on the proven success of platforms such as Facebook in 2014 and the improved targeting available this time around. The problem is that everyone has the same idea, and the big-money PACs are shifting premium dollars to grab social attention, warns Mitch Dunn, senior vice president of Empower MediaMarketing, in an AdExchanger.com Politics post. This will create two new problems for social marketers, political and commercial, especially on the popular Facebook platform. Due to Facebook’s strict limit on news feed ad frequency, if more campaigns continue to use Facebook, there can be crowding out of marketers, notes Dunn. Since individual ads can only appear on Facebook twice a day, more total ads can limit an individual ad space in the news feed. The cost per thousand impressions (CPM) also can be more unpredictable and expensive. Since political campaigns often use microtargeting to focus on extremely small segments of the population, any campaign targeting similar segments on Facebook may notice higher CPMs than normal. More than in the past, political campaigns need anticipate social strategy issues and costs. Solutions include adjusting timing to avoid conflict with other higher-spending campaigns targeting the same niche, testing new target niches, and expanding ad spend to other targetable social media platforms courting political action, such as Twitter, SnapChat, YouTube, etc. For more: http://adexchanger.com/politics/the-2016-election-will-disrupt-marketers-social-strategies/

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Where's the Bang for Political Consulting Bucks?

Candidates pouring money into the coffers of political consultants, especially for TV ads, aren't getting much bang for their bucks so far in this election cycle. In fact, a December 2015 New York Times piece by Adam Sheingate, chairman of the Johns Hopkins University political science department, looked at 2016 presidential hopefuls' spending on political consulting firms and noted an often inverse relationship between dollar outlays and poll rankings. For example, Jeb Bush has spent over $50 million to date with a handful of political consulting firms (mainly for TV ads) to earn 3% support in recent CNN/ORC polls, while Donald Trump spent just $1.2 million in the same period to earn a 39% support position in the polls. A ranking of 10 Republican candidates by consultant spending through the end of 2015 has Bush in the lead, with Carson coming in second (for 10% poll support) and Christie in third place for 5% poll results. (Poll leader Trump ranks ninth in spending out of 10.) On the Democratic side, front-runner Hillary Clinton spent the most on consultants at about $18.5 million in 2015--spread evenly over TV, digital media, direct mail/fundraising and polling--but it has earned her higher poll numbers than Bernie Sanders with his $4.9 million consultant outlay. Thanks mainly to media ad costs, 2016 is on track to outdo 2012 in terms of political consulting spending. In 2012, consultants billed federal candidates, parties and super PACs more than $3.6 billion for products and services, Sheingate notes, with 70% of that amount going to firms specializing in the production and placement of media (mainly TV). As of December 10, 2015, candidates and their affiliated super PACs have already spent more than $163 million on consulting services, compared with just $43 million spent on consulting at the same point in 2012 campaigns. By the way, $45 million of 2015's $163 million is accounted for by Jeb Bush's media (TV) dollars, point out Sheingate. For more detail on spending by candidate and promotional channel, see http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/30/opinion/campaign-stops/the-political-consultant-racket.html?_r=0

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Campaigns Must Arm to Win the 2016 Digital Race

Campaigns and causes will be competing on a digital battlefield as never before in the 2016 elections. A recent MediaPost.com article by Mike Werch, marketing manager of SocialCode, offered eight key digital strategies to boost message impact, expand voter base and capture donations. Werch advises: 1) target unaffiliated voters by serving digital ads to lookalikes, people with the same interests and behaviors as those in the voter, donor or e-mail subscriber files; 2) recapture donors with digital remarketing (use of Website Custom Audiences) to target people who visit a donation page but fail to donate; 3) apply digital insights across channels, using the creative test results of digital video to hone TV or print ads, for example; 4) improve primary audience response with digital geo-targeting, testing geo-targeted digital video to perfect expensive local TV ads, for example; 5) segment audiences for more digital leverage, using Facebook's rich user data, for example, to deploy ads relevant to targets' demographics, behaviors and interests; 6) do a local-interest digital campaign in an area before hitting the pavement, and follow up with conversion-focused ads to build mailing lists; 7) do digital "get out the vote" campaigning, messaging politically inactive Facebook users who also match political affinity targeting as an example; 8) test 2016's new and improved ad options for political campaigning, such as Facebook's lead ads for mobile sign-ups and conversions with pre-filled forms. For more detail, read http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/264971/how-2016-presidential-candidates-can-win-the-digit.html