Why CTV Will Power the Future of Political Advertising

Voters will soon head to the polls for the 2022 midterm elections, and marketers are ramping up their political advertising campaigns. Kantar predicts political ad spend will reach $7.8 billion this election cycle, with significant growth across digital channels. 

Of particular note this year is the growth in connected TV (CTV) advertising, which is expected to reach $1.2 billion. 

Many political marketers began experimenting with CTV ahead of the 2020 election, but streaming viewership, fueled by pandemic-driven behavior shifts, has grown faster than anyone expected since then. 

There are now 85.7 million streaming households in the US, creating a prime opportunity for political marketers to engage voters in every corner of the country. 

CTV is a critical component of any political advertising campaign

As CTV viewership has increased (more Americans stream than watch broadcast or cable TV), the audience has become increasingly diverse, encompassing all demographics and socioeconomic groups. A growing number have cut the cord entirely, meaning many voters are unreachable through traditional TV campaigns, making the CTV audience all the more valuable.

The increased reach combined with the highly engaging, lean-back CTV viewing experience has been drawing more attention—and ad spend—from marketers. Because CTV viewers make a conscious effort in deciding what to watch, they naturally tend to be more engaged compared to traditional TV viewers. 

This creates an ideal medium to engage and inform audiences, not only in support of specific candidates and ballot races, but also to educate on key issues or support nonpartisan get-out-the-vote initiatives.

Streaming brings digital targeting and measurement to TV

The superior targeting capabilities of CTV allow political marketers to reach specific segments of voters, based on geography, household demographics, and behavior. While the fragmented CTV landscape remains a very real challenge, marketers can reach targeted audiences in individual markets without sacrificing scale. 

Leveraging programmatic for political advertising enables marketers to aggregate supply across a wider array of media owners and distribution points. They can then deliver their message to the right audiences in an effective and scalable way. 

With this comes more robust measurement, too. Political marketers can access more granular reporting to better understand and optimize against reach, performance, and overall campaign success. 

Why deals are an optimal transaction method for political campaigns

CTV is primarily transacted through private marketplace deals, which improve effectiveness and efficiency by streamlining access to curated inventory. 

Deals also foster trust on both the buy and sell sides. Marketers can buy directly from vetted media owners and target reliable, premium inventory to reach relevant audiences wherever they may be watching. Meanwhile, media owners can retain more control over inventory to ensure that ads adhere to established brand safety and operational guidelines. 

In political advertising, where campaigns require real-time changes all the way up to election day, transacting through deals can provide marketers a clearer picture of how campaign dollars will be spent. 

How media owners should prepare for election season

Most importantly, CTV publishers and platforms must have a streamlined creative approval workflow in place. This is often the biggest hurdle when it comes to political advertising as creatives require close review and marketers expect quick approvals. Working with trusted ad quality partners and ensuring human review of all creatives will help protect the viewer experience. 

Second, it’s important to ensure correct signaling of content and genre in the bid stream. Genre targeting is highly desirable to marketers looking to reach voters within specific programming, such as news or sports. Leveraging content and genre signals also helps ensure a less disruptive experience for viewers, as media owners can maintain a more organic relationship between ad creative and inventory. 

CTV viewership and advertising capabilities have grown immensely since the last election cycle, creating an unmissable opportunity to reach prospective voters. With key midterm races happening across the country, now is the time to test, learn, and prepare for the national 2024 presidential election.

Interested in adding CTV to your political campaign strategy? Contact our team to get started.

Jason DeMarco

Jason DeMarco

Vice president, CTV

As vice president of CTV, Jason DeMarco focuses on driving revenue and growth for CTV publishers and platforms, optimizing media spend, and delivering an enhanced ad experience for consumers. An expert on media advertising and strategy, content monetization, and advanced advertising technologies, Jason is an established thought leader in the programmatic industry. Prior to joining Index, Jason oversaw programmatic and audience solutions for A+E Networks, where he established a programmatic monetization strategy for emerging markets on new media platforms like CTV and AVOD.

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