Political Marketers Building Their Mobile, Digital Ad Presence

Political advertising has been traditionally rooted in TV. However, voter eyes are starting to move from TV to mobile, and though TV will still play big in this year’s voting cycle, political advertisers are looking to build their cross-screen strategies.

Kantar Media, which tracks TV advertising, predicts overall spending for the 2016 elections will be about $4.4 billion, up roughly 16% from what candidates and outside groups spent on cable and broadcast ads in the 2012 cycle.

Ran Ben-Yair, CEO of Ubimo, who recently spoke at MediaPost’s Marketing: Politics event, says that mobile is bigger than people have predicted. Political marketers can’t use exactly the same tools and strategies they have in the past to try to affect voters.



“TV has been around for 50 years, there’s a lot of comfort there. Political managers tend to be somewhat risk-averse,” says Peter Pasi, VP of political sales at programmatic multiscreen company Collective. Their jobs depend on them winning campaigns, and it can be tempting to not experiment with new modes of advertising.

But, if there’s one thing that political marketers know, it’s video advertising.

“A very large percentage of political ads are video for digital advertising,” says Pasi, “this allows for more storytelling across screens.” In terms of mobile political ads, display ads are like yard signs, but videos help shape a campaign more than any other medium.

Looking to the future, Pasi says that political marketers need to be asking how the content of local news and time-sensitive events will be delivered in 2020. For now, figuring out video in 2016 is the biggest challenge.

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