Dear 2016 Candidates,
I know that running for office, any office, is hard. If you want to win, your online campaign needs to be effective, and, for that to happen, there are five things you must do right now.
The First is the Simplest: Get in the Game. Much of the ad inventory online is sold through either ad-networks or real-time bidding in tranches of 1000 impressions, or eCPMs. So like any advertising medium, this means the bigger the impression you want to make the more you’re likely to pay, particularly if you’re targeting premium digital publishers.
But a bit of long-term planning goes a long way: enter the online race right now, and you have a much stronger chance of enjoying more exposure over a longer period of time at reduced rates. This is because reaching key demos at the end of a cycle is likely to become more expensive as more demand is placed on inventory.
A more gradual lead-in time also allows you to hack the very costly keyword conundrum: like most search and display campaigns, yours, too, most likely depends on keywords or phrases relevant to your campaign, words like “change” and “taxes” and “jobs” that all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, share.
Put Your Message in Motion: If you’ve made it this far, you already understand how important a campaign video is to delivering your message. While linear TV buys are fairly straightforward, in digital it’s time to sweat the small stuff. Do you want preroll or in-banner? To make sense of these two, think of a magazine vs. a newspaper. With preroll, you get something like the cover of Time, a loud and prominent piece of display.
With in-banner, you get a bit of content akin to an in-depth story on page 18 of The New York Times, say. If this sounds like a no-brainer—who wouldn’t take the front page of the magazine?—stop and consider the following. While preroll guarantees your video will get viewed, both preroll and in-banner ads now allow you to layer on other dynamic elements, like social media links or sign-up buttons.
They also allow you to track engagement, separating those viewers who clicked away after two seconds from those who sat and watched the whole thing. The advantage of in-banner ads is that they are much cheaper and easier to deliver at scale because there is more inventory available. Before you choose one over the other, then, consider which is best for your particular needs.
Go Deep: Don’t just link. Deep link. The term refers to a technology that enables marketers to link to a specific location within a mobile application. Say you put up an ad that has to do with your views on the environment.
People clicking on that ad are likely to be interested in that particular subject; when they click on the mobile ad, it should take them directly to the portion of your site that’s relevant to them, rather than the general homepage.
Using deep linking will allow you to target influencers in specific groups, and encourage potential supporters to share your content in a way that feels contextualized and relevant.
Re-purpose your Video Content: All of this specific digital attention, of course, doesn’t mean that you should toss aside your television ads. As you are, most likely, already paying for creative content designed to run on TV, you should consider taking the same ad and repurposing it for the web.
Rather than merely put it on your YouTube channel or your website, you could, with the right ad tech partner, repurpose your very costly TV spots and make them more web-friendly, using them not only as a piece of content but as a sharp tool to collect email addresses, take opinion polls, or raise funds.
Online video lets you reach specific audiences in targeted locations at a fraction of the cost.
Follow these four pieces of advice, and you’re likely to end up with a considerable amount of data. Finally, the most important, tip of them all: Big data doesn’t matter; smart data does.
Ours is such an information-obsessed era, that even the most hardened of pros sometimes tend to confuse quantity for quality. What you want is not just to play the numbers game—how many likes, how many shares, how many views—but also to work with experts to understand precisely where you should be applying your limited resources.
Do that, and you’d be much more likely to smile widely in your final campaign video come November 2016.