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Timing and Targeting: What Brands Can Learn from Political Ads Post-Election

Wed, Dec. 14, 2016 | By: Tremor Video


Though the elections are over, the roar of political buzz has yet to die down. Political advertisers, at least, can be confident knowing that they used new skills and new tech to drive voter engagement in a new world. Brand marketers the world over can learn from these tactics to make big impact in a short amount of time.

Political advertisers’ aim was to meet and greet the largest and most diverse generation of voters using the technology integral to their daily existence. With Strategy Analytics predicting that the number of mobile-video consumers will hit two billion a year from now, the conclusion for marketers is that video is key for engaging audiences. This is especially true since digital video is one of the most effective formats for driving engagement, even more so for the younger generation of voters. Given the success that political advertisers found through cross-screen video, brands should look at how they used cross-screen strategies to engage voters, and try to emulate those tactics to reach consumers outside of the election cycle.

Leverage Rapid Responses
The biggest difference between political marketing and brand marketing is the speed with which political marketers react and respond during an election. A perfect example of this is the ad that the Clinton campaign released the morning after the Vice Presidential debate. It was generally agreed that Pence won the debate, but Clinton’s team quickly released a video cutting together footage of Donald Trump speaking, immediately followed by Pence denying that Trump had said those exact words. That morning, Clinton’s “Indefensible” video had gotten more than 1.5 million views on Facebook.

Like Clinton, when a brand reaches out to its audience at the exact moment their interest is piqued, it can engage in a timely conversation that has the right message at the right time. Picture a social newsfeed during that debate and after that video ran — it quickly filled with commentary and memes created to express voter’s feelings about what was spoken. Now, if a brand puts itself in a position to do something similar, it may find itself as part of the general conversation and potentially the talking point itself. Brands that can successfully pull of “newsjacking” become part of the culture.

For brands, it’s vital that their advertising hits at the right time, in the right place, and with the right message in order to be effective. By focusing advertising strategies on timely topics and interests that put consumers in the right mindset, as political candidates do, brand advertisers can be much more efficient and impactful with their spend.

Get Granular
Another huge learning is the level of precision in targeting that political advertisers employ. The use of voter files to target constituents with pinpoint accuracy is similar to the first-party audience data that brand marketers covet, but with even greater detail. Political advertisers are able to target with laser-like granularity; the vast majority of brands still rely too much on anonymous proxies like cookies for advanced targeting and measurement. These are incomplete data profiles and therefore missing key segments and targeting individuals who aren’t relevant. Brands need to move to using a full data set in order to see the success and engagement that political campaigns do.

Use Intel in Real Time
The decisions about which key audiences to target is also different in politics. Political campaigns depend on real-time polling, whereas brands typically use focus groups and brand lift studies that can take weeks to conduct. Using real-time polls allows campaigns to adjust their strategies quickly, and also polls a larger sample. In comparison, brands have access to a limited sample and then have to invest time into creating these studies, digest the information, and then create a new plan.

There’s much that brands can learn from political campaigns, but none more important than the power of timing and targeting. When brands reach the right people at the right time, on the right channel with the right message, they will see a huge impact in their brand awareness. While this is easier said than done, we look forward to seeing how brands use this election to inform their ad strategies moving forward. 

Topics: Perspectives

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