Recently on the Digital Politics Podcast with Karen Jagoda, Simpli.fi CEO Frost Prioleau shared his insights on the value of real-time programmatic ad buying in helping political and advocacy campaigns target the right person at the right time with the right messaging. Frost also discussed the value of geo-fencing for driving fundraising, getting out the vote, and building a stronger volunteer base with event targeting.
Below are some highlights from his discussion with Karen Jagoda.
On the value of programmatic:
The true value of programmatic lies in the ability to precisely define an audience, target that audience using behavioral and location-based tactics, and optimize on the fly. Last year the majority of all digital ads were programmatic, and we can expect to see that trend play out in the 2018 elections (Note: Borrell Associates predicts that nearly half of political spending on digital ads will be programmatic).
On Evolution in the Programmatic Space:
Political marketing is moving well beyond traditional ways of targeting voters. A key example is behavioral targeting, where we can target a person with relevant ads based on their online behaviors. In this case, when a voter searches for a particular topic or position (e.g. gun control, immigration, etc.), we can then target them with political ads customized to their online actions.
Another important development that has been gaining momentum for the past couple of years is location-based targeting. Using GPS data, we can target users based on where they are. In the political context, we can geo-fence areas such as political rallies or other related event and retarget those potential voters at a later date to drive them to the polls. Additionally, political marketers can target users that live in particular neighborhoods or precincts that lean towards a specific candidate or party to promote further awareness around a political campaign. Geo-fencing can be used as an overlay to augment other targeting tactics, or as a standalone way to target relevant locations.
The latest development in location-based targeting has been Simpli.fi’s Addressable Geo-Fencing. Using the data from CRM lists such as voter registration rolls, political marketers can serve digital ads to specific households across multiple devices within the home (all names and other PII strictly excluded). This is the way to bring offline data online, and dramatically cuts down on the wasted spend and impressions we see from non-targeted media like television.
On potential pushback from clients towards utilizing behavioral targeting methods:
Since our clients are advertisers, they are data hungry and want to utilize as much data as they can get when targeting individuals. However, as an industry we are seeing a gradual shift towards an opt-in model, where data obtained from users is with their explicit consent. In other words, the ball will be in an individual’s court to choose whether their data can or can’t be used. Simpli.fi is wholeheartedly participating in this movement and with full transparency.
On Best Targeting Tactics for Fundraising:
There are many effective targeting options to drive fundraising efforts. For starters, Simpli.fi’s Event Targeting technology can be used to target political events at specific times and locations (e.g. rallies, debates, etc.). This is a great way to build an audience of like-minded individuals who will likely be more inclined to donate to a candidate.
Oftentimes, the group you want to fundraise from is much broader than just those folks that have shown up at a rally or a debate. Here is where Addressable Geo-Fencing comes into play. Political marketers usually have access to voter registration rolls and know which households within certain districts and precincts are likely to be the most supportive of their campaign. By using Addressable Geo-Fencing, political marketers can target those physical addresses with mobile, video and/or OTT/CTV ads to further raise funds and awareness. This way political marketers can target customized lists of only those households who fit the profile of potential donors.
Additionally, political marketers can focus on fundraising based on advocacy efforts by targeting users who have either searched on issue-oriented topics or visited the website and read content related to those topics.
On creating awareness and driving people to your website:
Behavioral targeting and various geo-fencing initiatives are effective ways to precisely target the right audiences and drive website traffic and awareness. However, sometimes just getting someone to visit your candidate’s website isn’t enough if they don’t take any further action.
With Simpli.fi’s Site Retargeting marketers can target website visitors with ads after they’ve left the site. This is a particularly effective targeting tactic, since the website visitor has already demonstrated interest and is therefore much more likely to donate or take other action. It’s worth noting that Simpli.fi can utilize frequency capping across all our targeting tactics to avoid overserving individuals with ads.
On the future of Big Data Mining:
The future of data mining has been a huge industry topic for many years, and in the political context has significant ramifications for how we can better understand voter behavior.
There has been a little bit of a divide between online data (what we search on, what websites we visit, what articles we read, etc.) and offline data (all the information that is in voter registration rolls, demographic data, etc.), and one of the interesting things we are seeing happen is a better connection between the two in terms of how they are used. This melding of the offline data and the online data provides a full picture of potential voters for political marketers. You can use a lot of what you have learned from offline data to build more precise audiences that can then be targeted online. It’s been a big push in our industry and has resulted in driving stronger ROIs for our advertisers.
To learn more, check out the full podcast of Frost Prioleau’s conversation with Karen Jagoda here.