As the political season heats up, the digital advertising landscape becomes a battleground of intense competition and heightened demand for ad space. This surge leads to a significant increase in advertising expenses and an oversaturation of the digital space. Advertisers are thus cornered into allocating more media dollars to reach their target audience, often at the cost of compromising the quality of available inventory to meet their campaign objectives. In this challenging environment, how can advertisers skillfully navigate and minimize the impact of the political election climate on their digital media strategies? In this blog we’ll discuss tactical approaches such as prebuying ad placements, employing advanced targeting strategies, and strategic ad diversification tactics.

Neglecting to Prebuy Ad Placements Exposes Campaigns to Severe Competitive Challenges and Cost Inefficiencies

Amidst the rising demand for ad space during political elections, prebuying ad placements is a powerful defense against the competitive challenges, cost inefficiencies, and campaign instabilities this climate brings. This solution offers advertisers control, savings, and a steady course of action in the volatile political election environment. Below are the advantages of prebuying ad placements.

Competitive Advantage

Prebuying ad placements provides planners with a crucial advantage in navigating competitor pressures, cost-efficiencies, and campaign instabilities during political elections. This strategic approach is pivotal in the high-demand environment for limited ad slots, enabling advertisers to secure prime real estate through early and strategic planning. Securing prime ad slots proactively ensures impactful messaging, capturing audience attention well before the advertising space reaches saturation.

Cost Efficiency

Being proactive about purchasing advertising inventory empowers planners to negotiate discounts or secure pricing by committing to a predetermined volume of advertising upfront. These negotiated terms act as a safeguard against potential cost escalations during peak seasons, enabling advertisers to sustain a maximized impact for their campaigns without compromising efficiency.

For Example, when utilizing Google Paid Search, brands can optimize their approach by adjusting the bid strategy to “Target Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)” or “Target Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).” The surge in ad space demand during the political season translates to heightened competition and increased cost per click (CPC). By leveraging Google’s algorithms through these bidding strategies, planners/buyers can fine-tune their bids, optimizing for maximum ROAS or a specific CPA. This approach ensures that the advertising budget is allocated properly, offering optimal value from each investment, and preventing the risk of exceeding the allocated budget and declining performance.

In Facebook ad campaigns adopting a “cost cap” objective empowers advertisers to set maximum limits on CPA, CPC, or conversions, providing control over costs and preventing unnecessary spending. Alternatively, during periods of high competition, consider switching to a ROAS goal for optimized ad revenue.

Campaign Stability

Prebuying ad placements also provides campaign stability in this unpredictable landscape. It provides a sense of reliability and predictability securing advertisers a structured and well-defined ad schedule, reducing the need for last-minute changes or hasty modifications.

Failing to Use Advanced Targeting Tactics Leaves Messages Overshadowed in Politically Charged Environments

Advanced tactics such as blocklists, dayparting, and geographic targeting should be used to navigate complexities and avoid message overshadowing. These strategic tactics ensure campaigns are devoid of political distractions and improve overall performance.

Blocklists and Exclusionary Targeting

Using blocklists and exclusionary targeting across advertising platforms helps to avoid election-related content while ensuring brand safety and relevance. This approach enables planners and buyers to proactively avoid specific publishers, sites, or platforms that may carry politically charged or controversial content. By doing so, they can ensure that their ads appear in context that aligns with their brand messaging. Advertisers can upload pre-existing lists of brand-safe sites for exclusive display on these sites. They can also proactively filter political content by excluding specific keywords, topics, or hashtags to ensure alignment with their brand and avoid any association with potentially negative messaging.

Dayparting and Scheduling

Dayparting and scheduling allow advertisers to exercise control over when their ads are displayed in order to avoid peak political times. By adjusting campaign schedules, advertisers can deliver messages when users are more receptive and less likely to be interrupted by political information. This targeted timing enhances the effectiveness of the advertising campaign and reduces the risk of message clouding.

Geographic Targeting

According to Basis Technologies, nearly 20% of political programmatic ads used geopolitical targeting to reach voters in specific districts. Advertisers can refine their target audience based on geographic location; a particularly effective strategy when political content intensifies during election periods. This approach allows advertisers to focus on areas less inundated with political messaging, ensuring their advertising remains impactful and isn’t overshadowed by political noise.

Overlooking Ad Diversification Tactics Will Leave Your Campaign Trapped in the Clutter of Political Ads

There are a variety of diversification tactics brands can employ to cut through political clutter. They are as follows:

Custom Audiences

Brands can leverage custom audiences by building audience segments in a Customer Data Platform (CDP) and using that data to customize content to target audiences more effectively. Another important tactic is to collaborate with audience vendors to craft Custom Private Marketplace (PMP) deals within a Demand-Side Platform (DSP) to gain access to tailored audience selection. This customization allows advertisers to avoid areas saturated with political content.

Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting involves suppressing keywords related to specific topics to ensure ads align with brand messaging, reducing the likelihood of displaying ads next to political content.

Native Advertising

Native advertising, ads that closely align with the content on a specific platform and therefore blending in, is an effective tactic during a political lifecycle. Not only is it an untapped channel with only three percent of advertisers utilizing this tactic in the 2022 U.S. elections (according to Basis Technologies), but it has a variety of other benefits. Native advertising is less disruptive, less intrusive, gets higher engagement because people likely already trust the site, are more targeted and relevant and also avoid ad fatigue created by traditional political ads.

Streaming Audio

Streaming audio is also an underutilized platform during political elections. Basis Technologies’ study revealed that only one percent of digital ad spend went to streaming audio in the 2022 U.S. elections. Advertisers can seize this opportunity to utilize this inventory in an unsaturated medium. Additionally, streaming audio has a wide reach, offers more precise targeting, has a very engaged audience, is heavily utilized on mobile devices, and offers more flexibility than traditional advertising.

Tik Tok

TikTok prohibits political advertising so during a political campaign period, it’s a great advertising medium for brands to consider. Advertisers can deliver messages without the interference of political noise, reach a highly engaged audience, deliver targeted content, and the content has the potential to go viral.

Advertisers Face the Daunting Task of Navigating a Crowded And Costly Digital Landscape During Peak Political Season

In this blog, we’ve outlined key tactics for advertisers to remain effective and cost-efficient during a politically saturated season. Techniques such as prebuying ad placements, advanced targeting techniques, and strategic ad diversification tactics are essential tools in an advertiser’s arsenal. These approaches not only offer competitive advantages and cost efficiencies but also ensure campaign stability amidst political noise. By leveraging underutilized channels like native advertising and streaming audio, and embracing platforms like TikTok, advertisers can effectively cut through the political clutter, ensuring their messages are delivered clearly and effectively.