The 2018 midterm elections are already shaping up to be a blockbuster for political advertising, with eMarketer reporting that overall spending is expected to be up 50% from the 2014 midterms, and may pass 2016.
There will be a key differentiator in terms of spending, compared to 2014. Over-the-top video is the hot new platform for campaigns to push their marketing spend.
In fact, according to data from ZypMedia, a local-focused digital advertising technology firm, there has been a significant shift toward OTT in just the past year. ZypMedia saw that in April-December. In 2017, 32% of the digital marketing mix was OTT, with the remainder spent on display and pre-roll video.
Through July of this year, that number has almost doubled, with 62% of the mix spent on OTT. That was before campaign marketing kicked into high gear.
“We started seeing some political campaigns coming in the latter part of last year,” ZypMedia CEO Aman Sareen tells Digital News Daily. “At that time, it was a decent jump in the political spend, but it wasn’t even close to what we are seeing this year.”
Pre-roll videos in particular were hit by the shift to OTT.
“It is the easiest transition to move from pre-roll to OTT,” Sareen says. He notes the ads have the same effect as TV ads and appear in brand-safe environments on TV sets.
Telaria, the video advertising software platform, recently released political ad data showing a 200% growth in political ad spending in 2018, as compared to the same period in 2016. The company also saw a shift away from display advertising and toward connected TV advertising.
The drive to OTT is following consumer adoption, but it is also about reaching younger demographics that may not be watching traditional, linear TV.
“The biggest problem the candidates have this year, and last year and the year before is reaching 18-34s,” Sareen says. “If you look at any of the recent reports from eMarketer or Nielsen, that demographic is viewing less and less content on the television screen, and more through over-the-air and connected devices.”
‘The politicians understand these are the voters not only of today, but also tomorrow,” he adds.