Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Midterm Wooing of Millennials Has Key Takeaways

Midterm campaigns have been working hard to woo millennials. The importance of the demographic target is clear: Those born between 1981 and the early 2000s now make up a quarter of the U.S. population, and roughly 45 million are eligible to vote. But millennials are also a hard-to-reach, easy-to-alienate cohort. A recent AdWeek article asked political marketing experts for takeaways from recent efforts to win millennial support. To appeal to this tech-centric, channel-agnostic and social media-obsessed generation, campaigns need to marry the right platforms with the right content, the experts advised. As far as marketing platforms, the stress is on a digital, "multiscreen" approach; a recent survey found that 30% of millennials use four or more digital communications devices daily, and the overall group checks mobile phones an average of 40 times per day. And when it comes to content, relevant, entertaining and informative messaging is critical. Experts interviewed by AdWeek warned that pitches not only need to be laser-focused to match millennials’ ideals and interests but must come across as sincere; millennials will spurn anything that smacks of hype, histrionics, hard sell, preaching or scare tactics. But perhaps one of the biggest challenges for campaigners is this demographic's distrust of politics and politicians. For example, a recent Reason-Rupe survey found that 66% of millennials believe government is inefficient and wasteful, and 60% think it abuses its powers. As a result, campaigns have gained by focusing on issues and values over party affiliation. Rob Shepardson, co-founder and partner in the creative agency SS+K, summed up: "Millennials will align with somebody regardless of political labels based on values. Communicate through issues, not through the candidate. Negative ads and politics-as-usual can turn millennials off. They are quite shrewd when it comes to marketing. You need to get to a point or a benefit that matters to them." For examples of recent campaign efforts that worked, or failed, to win over millennials, see the article: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/tapping-millennial-political-and-social-passions-ahead-midterm-elections-160563

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Midterm Lesson: Web Ad Space Isn't Unlimited

Political campaigners are learning a surprise lesson in the midterm election battles: Premium space on the web is not infinite. Late-comers to the increasingly crowded digital space are finding that they've missed all the tastiest spots for video and display ads. A recent story in The New York Times underscored that savvy political players now must make pre-emptive strikes to ensure ad placement when and where it matters most. Online video spots are especially hot, and there are two main types: those a viewer can skip after just a few seconds, and “reserved buy” ads that run in their entirety before another video begins. The ads that can be skipped are unlimited but sold by auction so the price goes up as demand increases closer to Election Day. The ads that cannot be skipped, those that viewers are forced to watch for all 15 or 30 seconds before they can see content from their original search, are limited. Campaigns are hurrying to reserve this video ad type in advance to lock in a good price and ensure prominent display. Video ad space on popular sites like YouTube, Hulu, Yahoo and top news outlets is in short supply; there is already almost no remaining YouTube inventory for reserve buys in some very competitive races, the New York Times reports. Banner ads and home-page takeovers, in which ads from a particular buyer are the only ones prominently displayed on a website’s home page, are also being scooped up fast. “Smart campaigns book early, the same way that smart brands book television early,” Andrew Bleeker, the president of Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic digital marketing company, told the NYT. “We reserve most of the inventory for our clients in the spring to make sure something like this isn’t a factor.” For the complete article, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/us/campaigns-find-ad-space-finite-even-on-the-web.html?_r=0

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Political Ads Grab 20% of Sept. Cable TV Spend

With $1 of every $5 spent on cable TV advertising in September dedicated to political ads, at least per independent cable ad rep firm Viamedia, cable fans are seeing their usual beer and insurance ads pushed aside by midterm election messages this year. As reported recently by The Fix. The Washington Post political blog, the share of political ad revenue is way up this year in Viamedia stats -- compare September's 20.5% share for political ads with the 13% share of four years ago -- and still growing. Why the cable blitz? Viamedia theorized to The Fix that not only has easing of campaign finance restrictions pulled more money into political ad spending but also that data technology for cost-effective, narrow targeting of cable audience, especially geo-targeting, is drawing dollars away from broadcast. As proof of the current tightly targeted TV ad effort, Viamedia notes that just 16 channels comprise 92% of its political ad revenue in 2014. To see the cable networks leading in political ad share across 30 Viamedia markets, check out http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/10/08/1-of-every-5-spent-on-cable-tv-ads-in-september-was-political-per-one-firm/

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

GOP Ads Pick 'Big Bang"; Dems Like 'Big Brother'

Midterm elections are bonanzas for local TV stations, but there's been little hard data on political ad placement and targeting, Thanks to The Washington Post, we now have some more insight into where Republicans, Democrats and Independents are putting their TV ad dollars. A research team, as reported by Philip Bump of The Post's The Fix political blog, looked at 6,000 online filings with the Federal Communications Commission by local TV stations on behalf of Senate candidates during the period from Aug. 1 though the fourth week in September (including October ad buys). No surprise, Bump reveals that the most popular shows for political ad placement had the word "news" in the title (64,000 mentions in the 6,000 filings), followed by citing of the "Today" show. For daytime viewers, Dr. Phil was the most Republican talk show choice, while fans of Steve Harvey and Ellen DeGeneres were less likely GOP ad targets. Independents were more likely to post ads on game shows, while Democrats dominated the Hollywood gossip space. Late-night TV, with its younger audience, was also favored by Democrats, while Republicans were more likely to reach out with Sunday ads, especially on "Fox News Sunday," of course. But the prime-time TV ad face-off is where the big money goes. Political hopefuls across the spectrum vie for time during football games since it is the sport that leads in viewership. Bump's review also found Republicans more likely to place ads on "Big Bang Theory," while Democrats favored ads on "Scandal" and "Big Brother." Even reruns got their share of political wooing; the venerable "Andy Griffith Show" was a GOP pick, for example. For more, read http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/09/29/republicans-advertise-on-the-big-bang-theory-democrats-buy-ads-on-big-brother/