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A Political Advertisers Guide to Adding Digital Tactics to Your TV Mix

by Harman Sodhi, November 19, 2020
political advertisers guide to digital tactics

Key Takeaways:

  • Political campaign strategists need to think holistically about persuasive outreach and not rely exclusively on TV GRPs.
  • The money being invested against a relatively finite pool of linear TV supply is increasing the value of premium digital advertising avenues like CTV.
  • Political advertisers need to utilize programmatic media alongside upfront guarantees in a unified strategy across all media types.

Advertising spend on this year’s hotly contested Presidential Election hit a record $6.9 billion and a level of competitive punditry the world has never seen before. While TV-style persuasion advertising is still the biggest investment for today’s political advertisers, the media landscape continues to fragment across devices. 

For political campaign managers, a TV-only campaign strategy often constrains their ability to continuously test and pivot messaging against news cycles and fluctuating polling data. Luckily, with more addressable data coming from CTV, mobile, and desktops than ever before, there are new innovations to reach niche audiences, scale faster, and reduce costs. 

Unify data across TV, digital, and social to reach constituents with precision 

The ability to talk to people one-to-one or at the household level (also known as addressability) enables the tailoring of messaging toward specific geographical targets with greater precision and targetability. However, many political advertisers end up using the same source data to reach similarly modeled audiences in a commoditized way, leading to a budget rat-race to win their attention. Here are a few ways to leverage unified data between CTV, digital, and social that work with your TV buys:

  1. Examine near real-time local TV viewership data to determine if you want digital assets to help increase frequency, maximize reach, or re-target competitive ad recipients. 
  2. Measure advertising effectiveness holistically and understand actual costs to drive specific goals on each channel (e.g., maximize reach or increase frequency). 
  3. Establish a custom, data-driven device-level (TV, CTV, desktop, mobile/tablet) budget allocation plan for each race rather than arbitrarily dividing budget by screen based on a static formula (e.g., 75% TV, 25% digital).
  4. Use rich digital insights from real-time, social, and web browsing data to help guide TV and digital creative optimization. Such insights are less susceptible to selection errors because conclusions can be drawn from observed natural behavior and randomized audiences rather than from controlled, formal polling environments.

Understand voter sentiment in real-time for more impactful audience engagement

Proprietary data allows political advertisers to get past traditional methodologies and discover more specific consumer interests and affiliations. By understanding voter media consumption and sentiment, you can more easily optimize campaign strategy, minimize ad waste, and only target voters that are relevant geographically or politically. Here are a few key ways browsing and social intelligence data can improve your targeting and campaign reach:

  1. Understand which topics constituencies are disproportionately interested in. For example, certain DMAs in Michigan may be obsessing over Covid-19, while other DMAs may be more interested in tax reform.
  2. Validate advertising effectiveness in terms of observing change in ad recipient browsing habits and sentiment compared to control group results.
  3. Target constituencies based on what they actually read and watch on their personal devices. This gives you the ability to gut-check poll findings against real-time content consumption patterns.

Complement TV with programmatic to reduce waste

In digital advertising, prices can quickly skyrocket for hotly contested races. Simply put, since much of programmatic advertising relies on biddable inventory, auction outcomes are liable to become quite volatile when too many buyers try to secure the same supply. An allocation-based strategy can help you dynamically place ads in multiple types of environments while forecasting against your TV upfront purchased inventory as well as programmatic. Here are a few ways to assess media availability and then measure efficiency of investments:

  1. Work with a technology partner that can accurately forecast and allocate media placement across TV upfronts, programmatic guaranteed deals, and public programmatic auctions to make sure you maximize value. 
  2. Continuously evaluate your media buys holistically utilizing data from ACR providers to understand household reach on a device-by-device basis.
  3. Stay agile! Don’t be scared to pivot mid-flight or mid-week if you observe signs of inefficiency.

Lock down upfront supply deals early to save money

Get started as early as possible before an election cycle speeds up and start having discussions with publishers and broadcasters to lock down upfront guarantees. Here are some tips on how better timing can save you budget:

  • Know what targets are readily available (e.g., you plan to commit to a programmatic guaranteed deal to heavy-up delivery against females 55+) so you can focus on reaching more niche targets with available programmatic inventory.
  • Publishers price inventory in accordance with the demand for their supply. Savvy media consultants will have a better feel for which races have a better likelihood of turning into incredibly expensive programs well in advance of their digital supply partners.
  • Amobee uniquely utilizes allocation-based mathematics to plan future-looking campaigns by locking in programmatic CTV and video campaigns as early as possible. In this last election cycle, Amobee was able to deliver 98% of hyper-targeted political outreach efforts as forecasted.

Invest more in data-driven TV-aware advertising to win the next election

Amobee understands the unique voter targeting challenges political advertisers face, the rigor required during peak political seasons, and the complexity of legal compliance. Amobee Brand Intelligence (BI) enables forecasting analysis and data intelligence for a high level of insight and sophistication into consumer behavior and sentiment with an unparalleled degree of accuracy. To learn more about how to get started with Amobee BI, please contact us at


About Amobee

Founded in 2005, Amobee is an advertising platform that understands how people consume content. Our goal is to optimize outcomes for advertisers and media companies, while providing a better consumer experience. Through our platform, we help customers further their audience development, optimize their cross channel performance across all TV, connected TV, and digital media, and drive new customer growth through detailed analytics and reporting. Amobee is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tremor International, a collection of brands built to unite creativity, data and technology across the open internet.

If you’re curious to learn more, watch the on-demand demo or take a deep dive into our Research & Insights section where you can find recent webinars on-demand, media plan insights & activation templates, and more data-driven content. If you’re ready to take the next step into a sustainable, consumer-first advertising future, contact us today.

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