Political Advertising in Streaming TV: Q&A with Madhive

The upcoming election cycle is poised to be the first to fully realize the value of streaming TV advertising thanks to the transformative surge in consumer adoption—and political marketers are taking note. In fact, projections indicate $1.8 billion in political advertising spend will be allocated to streaming TV this year. 

Since streaming TV audiences are completely accessible through programmatic platforms, marketers can benefit from digital’s precise addressability, measurement, and optimization capabilities to effectively engage voters.  

Madhive, an advertising platform engineered for modern TV advertising, helps political buyers optimize their streaming campaigns. I spoke with Luc Dumont, SVP of business development at Madhive, about the dynamic role streaming TV advertising will play in the 2024 election and how political marketers can make the most of programmatic to reach voters in key markets. 

Jared Lansky 
Luc Dumont
Political Advertising blog authors

1. The streaming TV landscape today is very different than what it was during the 2020 national election cycle. With viewership now at critical mass and numerous advancements in programmatic capabilities, how will streaming TV advertising play into this year’s election? 

Luc Dumont: Streaming TV viewership has grown significantly since the 2020 elections. Today, streaming makes up nearly 40% of all TV—accounting for a higher percentage of TV viewership than broadcast or cable.  

With streaming TV, political advertisers can reach potential voters at scale while leveraging digital targeting capabilities with the sight, sound, and motion of the screen.  

This means going beyond traditional segments, such as “adults aged 25 to 54,” and instead targeting by behavior, interests, geography, party affiliation, and other parameters. When paired with the engagement power of TV, streaming is the best way to deliver political messages that drive outcomes.  

2. What should political marketers know heading into the 2024 election cycle? How can they best prepare for successful campaigns? 

LD: Locally targeted TV will continue to play an important role, as some topics (for candidates for national office) are more relevant in certain areas than others, and candidates for local or regional office may need to reach certain districts or neighborhoods—for example, areas with high concentrations of swing voters—more than others. 

In recent election years, we’ve seen candidates blitz the market and collectively spend billions. The 2020 election cost nearly $14 billion, according to Reuters. A lot of that spending was, obviously, wasted (just ask all the candidates who lost). Political marketers need to work with platforms that have sophisticated tools for managing reach and frequency, because bombarding the same viewers with the same ads on repeat can be detrimental to campaign goals.  

It’s also important to note that there are thousands of streaming apps that have fragmented viewership in the overall streaming TV ecosystem. To efficiently deploy spend, political marketers need a partner with reach-extension capabilities, which will allow them to reach digital audiences at scale across streaming channels, platforms, and other environments.  

3. How can political marketers take advantage of programmatic and streaming TV to reach hyper-local audiences? 

LD: Programmatic allows political marketers to more efficiently deploy spend across streaming TV environments, but reaching hyper-local audiences at national scale is easier said than done. Each election cycle, every ad tech company suddenly becomes an expert on local, but political advertisers will quickly recognize who actually lives and breathes local.  

During the normal course of business, targeting streaming TV households by DMA or zip code is often sufficient, but for political advertisers, congressional and legislative districts don’t necessarily line up with these standard maps.  

So, if ad tech partners don’t truly have what we call “local DNA,” candidates can wind up blanketing entire cities or metro areas to reach all the voters they want. This results in a huge waste of money, which can equate to millions of dollars at scale. 

4. How does Madhive help marketers activate data to reach different voter segments efficiently and effectively? 

LD: Nearly a decade ago, when streaming TV started to gain momentum, Madhive helped local broadcasters launch reach-extension businesses to make up for the lost viewership on linear. Now, Madhive’s infrastructure powers efforts for Fox, Scripps, TEGNA, and a large portion of local broadcasters nationwide.  

Along the way, we’ve built a hyper-local connected TV (CTV) device graph consisting of more than 100 million households, and our “local DNA” approach allows political buyers to target potential voters across over 400 congressional districts. Madhive also has an ecosystem of best-in-class political data partners including TargetSmart, DataTrust, and L2, enabling buyers to reach audiences by a variety of demographics like age, geo, party affiliation, undecided voters, and issues of interest. And with our network of direct partnerships, we can report ad placement at a granular level and measure things like website visits, email signups, and donations, all while ensuring consumer privacy. 

Through our partnership with Index Exchange and others, Madhive also built a massive CTV inventory marketplace, curated for political advertisers, consisting of inventory from thousands of publishers, as well as direct premium partnerships with OEMs, programmers, broadcasters, and more. Additionally, political advertising policies vary from platform to platform, and Madhive implements all the right technical solutions to ensure creative meets standards, and ads are delivered to receptive audiences in premium environments.

5. What impact do you expect AI and machine learning to have on political advertising and campaign performance?  

LD: AI is an essential piece of the puzzle. At a topline level, AI allows us to analyze massive amounts of data in milliseconds and make the best decision possible based on the desired outcome for a campaign. At Madhive, we also input performance trends into proprietary AI models to predict future outcomes in real time, enhancing the likelihood of reaching the right viewer at precisely the right moment and significantly boosting media outcomes. 

Going forward, we expect AI to play an important role in the creative process as well. Political advertising requires long-tail creatives that need to be prepared at light speed and are tailored to specific audiences and scenarios. We’ve already seen the adoption of AI-based platforms that make this easier for political marketers. 

Want to learn more about streaming TV? Tune in to our Index Explains video series where we break down the complexities of streaming TV advertising to help you unlock its full potential. 

Jared Lansky

Jared Lansky

SVP, platform partnerships

Jared Lansky is the SVP of platform partnerships at Index. He came to Index from MediaMath, where he was the SVP of partnerships. Prior to that, he served as chief commercial officer at Anyword, an AI copywriting service; CRO at Sourcepoint Technologies Inc., a data privacy software company; and head of programmatic direct, AdX at Google.

Back to blog