Out-of-home is poised to play a larger role in this election cycle for political campaigns to win over a highly polarized voter base. The results are in for a slate of hyper-competitive year-end local races and the stakes are even higher for political marketers to plot their winning campaign strategy for the 2022 midterm elections.
Midterm election spending is forecasted to reach $7.8 billion in 2022, according to Kantar. Coupled with the 2022 Winter Olympics marketing, advertisers can expect increased inventory and pricing pressures with traditional broadcast media heading into next year.
OOH is well proven for delivering tremendous value and versatility in reaching local audiences quickly and simultaneously with impactful and contextually relevant messages. It was essential for conveying safety and vaccination PSA messages during the pandemic.
As political campaigns prioritize reach and frequency, OOH offers a highly diverse and brand-safe advertising medium spanning millions of different media placements and formats across the U.S. And it surrounds people’s everyday journeys and experiences in the real world. Furthermore, voters are taking notice of OOH ads. According to an MRI-Simmons Fall 2020 study, 70% of registered voters pay attention to OOH; 70% of those that voted in the last state election noticed OOH in the past month; 70% of those that voted in the last presidential election noticed OOH in the past month and 83% of consumers who pay attention to OOH are registered to vote.
The digitization of OOH inventory and new technology capabilities now make it possible to apply modern, data-driven advertising techniques to target audiences and measure outcomes more precisely than ever before on both traditional and digital formats. Digital OOH adoption is also rising in the U.S. with advertising spend projected to reach $3.84 billion by the end of 2023, according to Statista.
Here are five winning OOH approaches for political marketers:
Adopt an Audience-First Approach to Voter Targeting
In previous election cycles, OOH targeting meant broadly targeting urban, suburban, or rural markets. Today, we have access to richer audience and location data to know who is likely viewing a specific OOH placement. The availability of anonymized consumer behavior and movement data has unlocked political advertisers’ ability to execute OOH campaigns with precision. Location data creates a clear view of real and recent audience behaviors in the physical world, including how people travel and the OOH inventory to which they are exposed. New audience targeting tools can integrate third party audience segments into its anonymized location history dataset that allows political campaigns to reach specific voter segments.
Leverage the Power of Location and Contextually Relevant Ads
With consumers spending 70% of their time away from home and a new OAAA report revealing that nearly three fifths of U.S. consumers are engaging with OOH ads, including 85% of Gen Z-ers and 78% of Millennials, don’t underestimate the power of location. OOH can leverage contextually relevant messages and locations like no other medium, which is exactly what political campaigns require when attempting to drive awareness and ultimately gain votes. This is especially important when considering “battleground areas,” where parties tend to invest the most money in. Political campaigns must ensure that their messages are pertinent and in the right neighborhoods, where they’ll get noticed by voters on their way to the polls.
Embrace the Flexibility of Digital & Programmatic OOH
In an increasingly fast-moving marketing environment, political campaigns need the agility to take advantage of every news cycle and get their message out to reach and sway voters swiftly. Political marketers can quickly change campaign creative with the flexibility of DOOH in response to breaking news or an opponent’s campaign message.
Moreover, with programmatic OOH, political campaigns can even adjust campaign creative on the fly and shift and optimize inventory buys in real-time based on where voters are located. For instance, savvy political marketers can leverage a myriad of OOH formats beyond the traditional billboard to engage with audiences where they live, work, and play in prime and underserved locations — as OOH is made up of a dynamic mix of static and digital displays across airport, transit, street shelter and furniture, retail, experiential, and other place-based media.
Drive Voter Action with Cross-channel Campaigns
OOH is renowned for being even more powerful when combined with other media channels. The integration of OOH and mobile drives amplification, and with geofencing, political advertisers can retarget the mobile devices of voters who are in the proximity of an OOH media placement. Thus, delivering valuable attribution insights and the power of sequential messaging to prompt voter registration and solicit donations.
Beyond mobile and social, political advertisers can ‘un-silo OOH’ and tap into new capabilities to activate a cross-channel video strategy that connects Connected TV (CTV) and OOH audiences. The ability to now integrate data sets across two of the fastest growing media channels gives political advertisers a holistic picture of the customer journey and deeper insights on a single voter audience from in-home to out-of-home.
Close the Loop on Measurement with Voter Outcomes
With political advertising becoming more data-driven and hyper-targeted, political campaigns now have access to the same performance measurement tools in OOH as other digital channels. They can glean behavioral data to detect real-world exposure to OOH advertising messages to connect the dots on campaign outcomes. Working with OOH specialists, political marketers can close the loop on measurement to track campaign performance, covering on-target audience delivery and the lift in awareness, and voter engagement and action attributed to an OOH campaign.
With ever changing voter demographics, understanding voter behavior and location intelligence is the holy grail for political campaigns — and today’s data-driven OOH is a powerful force that delivers reach, frequency, and outcomes. Teaming up with OOH experts with data-rich technologies to power local campaigns at scale is a winning formula in the high-stakes battle to score crucial votes in the midterms.