Why CTV is Vital for Reaching and Persuading Voters for the 2024 Elections

Author: Al Behmoiras, Head of Political at Premion

The shift away from linear to streaming has reached a tipping point, and Connected TV (CTV) has emerged as a vital activation point for reaching and persuading voters in the high-stakes 2024 election cycle.

With over 40% of US households only reachable through streaming TV, according to MRI Simmons*, the necessity of leveraging CTV platforms for political campaigns is undeniable. Despite this shift, a staggering 80% of ad budgets still flow towards linear. Yet, with BIA forecasting a record-breaking $11.1 billion in political ad spend in 2024, the potential of CTV is poised for exponential growth: From just $74 million in 2020 to a projected $1.0 billion in 2024, CTV has become an essential part of the political ad ecosystem — for candidates to execute a holistic media strategy to reach and win over voters.

The rise of ad-supported streaming services and free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels has created more buying options, resulting in growing complexity and fragmentation for political advertisers to navigate. So, what does an effective political CTV strategy look like? 

Here's what political CTV advertisers need to consider for the 2024 election cycle:

Prioritize CTV as an Integral Part of a Total TV Strategy

In reaching all voter demographics, a comprehensive TV strategy has become indispensable, with CTV playing a pivotal role in every political media plan. While online video and pre-roll advertising may offer lower CPMs, CTV provides an immersive big screen viewing experience along with digital media precision that is unparalleled. Moreover, co-viewing is at its highest on CTV when viewing premium content. How often do you see a group of people gathered around someone’s mobile phone watching content? Thus, it's imperative for political advertisers to integrate CTV into their media plans to effectively engage diverse voter segments.

The Brand Safety Imperative for Political Campaigns

Brand safety remains paramount for political advertisers especially with growing concerns surrounding the surge in AI-generated content on social media platforms. CTV is proving its value as the smart and safe choice for advertisers to align with trusted premium content. Political advertisers should work with trusted providers committed to brand safety and look for the TAG Brand Safety Certified and Certified Against Fraud seals of approval. Collaborating with partners specializing in directly sourced, premium content becomes increasingly critical to safeguard political campaigns from reputational risks.

Leverage Sophisticated Audience Targeting and Campaign Conquesting & Suppression

Political advertisers are becoming adept at utilizing first-party data, including voter files, donor lists, and supporter information, alongside third-party data, to achieve precise CTV targeting. By tapping into extensive datasets, they can pinpoint voters based on various factors such as district, political affiliation, income, education, and interests.

Beyond this, political advertisers can even use linear exposure data to either conquest or suppress exposure in CTV campaigns. Specifically, political advertisers can utilize data from traditional TV ads to target voter audiences who have either seen or not seen ads for a candidate or competitor when a traditional TV ad was aired. This approach allows political advertisers to enhance precision in campaign targeting and minimize waste in ad spending by including or excluding specific audiences.

Partner with Premium Providers that Deliver Expansive Reach

Given the high demand for premium CTV inventory and the risk of being preempted in a crowded political ad market, political advertisers will seek to secure quality brand-safe inventory at scale. However, availability will vary across providers so don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Agencies should consider a multi-faceted approach to activating CTV campaigns to include programmatic and a managed service. Working with a reputable partner that has curated many direct connections to premium inventory, not only streamlines media buying but also ensures that political campaigns achieve the advantages of reach and scale — with one simple buy, one comprehensive campaign and one unified report.

In this election year, political campaigns stand to benefit from leveraging the sophisticated audience targeting capabilities of CTV to deliver personalized messaging, especially in crucial battleground swing states. Success hinges on collaborating with reputable CTV partners with the expertise to effectively reach, influence, and drive voter outcomes through impactful campaigns in brand-safe premium content.

** Source: © MRI-Simmons 2024. 2024 March Cord Evolution. The data herein derives from a confidential, proprietary syndicated product owned by GfK US MRI, LLC.

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