Navigating the Political CTV Explosion

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In recent years, the landscape of political advertising has witnessed a transformative shift, with Connected TV (CTV) emerging as a game-changing way to reach voters. As we approach the politically charged climate of 2024, the market for political ads on CTV platforms is poised to hit an astounding $16 million, showing how CTV has the potential to revolutionize how political campaigns connect with voters. However, with this rapid growth, local candidates face some unique challenges. While large-scale campaigns with big budgets are taking advantage of the reach of CTV, smaller, local campaigns often have a hard time navigating this crowded space and reaching their target audience. In this digital era, understanding the dynamics of political advertising on Connected TV is crucial even for those who are looking to make a meaningful impact in their local communities. 

What is CTV? 

Connected TV, commonly shortened to CTV, refers to the televisions used to stream video content over the internet, such as smart TVs and devices connected to TVs (Roku stick, Apple TV, etc). CTV combines the broad reach of traditional television with the precision and flexibility of digital advertising, making it a powerful tool in the modern marketer’s arsenal.

Over-the-top media (OTT) is the content streamed to any internet-enabled device. Examples include Hulu, Amazon, and videos from online publishers. This technology has opened up a world of possibilities, not just for viewers but also for advertisers. 

Rising Significance in Advertising: The significance of CTV in the advertising world has been growing rapidly. It’s no longer just about the sheer number of CTV users, but more so the quality of engagement. Viewers on CTV platforms are often more engaged and can be targeted more accurately than traditional TV audiences. This precision allows for political advertising to better reach specific demographics with messages that have been tailored to them personally.

Shift from Traditional TV to Streaming Services: The transition from traditional television to streaming services has dramatically altered the landscape of political advertising. In the past, political campaigns would buy airtime on national or local television stations, casting a wide net in hopes of reaching potential voters. 

Now, political advertisers can use data-driven insights to identify and target specific voter segments. This shift means that political messages can be more personalized, timely, and relevant, potentially increasing their impact and effectiveness.

Impact on Political Advertising Strategies: This technological evolution means that political campaigns must adapt their strategies. Instead of focusing solely on broad messages meant for a general audience, they can now segment their audience and tailor their messaging accordingly. 

For example, a campaign could target young voters with ads about education policies on platforms they’re more likely to use, like Hulu or YouTube TV, while older voters might see ads about healthcare on more traditional CTV channels. This level of customization in political advertising was unimaginable a few years ago, but with Connected TV, it’s not just possible; it’s becoming the norm.

The challenge local advertisers face

Despite the many advantages of Connected TV (CTV) in political advertising, local advertisers often encounter significant challenges that can hinder their ability to leverage this powerful platform effectively.

Overshadowed by Big Advertisers: One of the most prominent challenges is the competition with big advertisers, particularly national campaigns with substantially larger budgets. These major players can afford extensive ad buys, securing premium ad slots and broader reach. For local advertisers, this reality can feel like a David versus Goliath scenario, where their messages risk being drowned out in a sea of high-budget campaigns. 

Small, local campaigns often struggle to find space and visibility on popular CTV platforms, making it difficult for them to connect with their target audience. This disparity in advertising power can lead to a scenario where local voices are overshadowed, despite potentially having messages that are highly relevant to the community.

Ad Fraud Concerns: Another pressing issue in the realm of CTV is ad fraud. This challenge isn’t exclusive to CTV but is a growing concern as more advertising dollars flow into this space. Local advertisers, often working with more modest budgets and less experience in the digital arena, can be particularly susceptible to the pitfalls of ad fraud. 

This can range from bots generating fake impressions to unscrupulous practices where ads are shown outside of the desired geographic area or demographic. For local advertisers, where every dollar counts and the focus is intensely regional, the impact of ad fraud can be especially detrimental. It not only drains valuable resources but can also skew campaign data, leading to misinformed strategies and ineffective ad spending.

Innovations for local advertisers with BRIDGE

Fear not! Although a challenging and dynamic platform, there are innovative ways for local advertisers to make their mark through CTV, and BRIDGE is at the forefront of this transformation.

First-Party Data: First-party data on ACTUAL people helps you find and reach your next customer on CTV with ease. You can build an audience of verified people who fit your voter profile, deliver media to them, and provide transparent results. Actual people lead to actual results for your business and no more wasted ad spend. 

Creativity and Authenticity: To effectively compete in the CTV arena, local advertisers must prioritize creativity and authenticity. This means developing content that genuinely reflects local values and addresses specific community issues, creating a distinct and relatable message. Such content naturally resonates more with local audiences, as it mirrors their daily experiences and concerns, setting it apart from the generic narratives often seen in larger national campaigns. BRIDGE recognizes the power of this authentic connection and supports local advertisers in crafting these unique narratives.

Geo-Targeting: Another critical innovation is the use of geo-targeting on CTV platforms, enabling advertisers to direct their messages to specific geographic locations. Whether targeting a city, district, or neighborhood, this precision ensures that the message reaches the intended community, maximizing both relevance and impact. BRIDGE’s tools and insights in geo-targeting allow local advertisers to fine-tune their campaigns, ensuring they resonate with the right audience.

Cross-Device Integration: For local advertisers, integrating advertising efforts across multiple devices – from CTVs to smartphones and computers – is essential. This cross-device strategy ensures that a campaign reaches audiences regardless of their preferred viewing platform, reinforcing the message and enhancing engagement. BRIDGE empowers advertisers with the capability to seamlessly integrate their campaigns across these devices, ensuring a cohesive and omnipresent campaign narrative.

Our Approach 

The cornerstone of BRIDGE’s approach is the utilization of people-based, first-party data for precise targeting and personalization. This data offers a more detailed and accurate understanding of viewer preferences and behaviors, allowing for the creation of more relevant and impactful CTV campaigns. Our people-based technology ensures that ads reach actual individuals within the target demographic, focusing on engagement and effectiveness rather than just impressions. This elevates the chances of meaningful interaction, optimizing the impact of every advertising dollar.

Our commitment to empowering local advertisers means providing the tools and support necessary to connect with their audience, ensuring that messages are not just seen but felt and acted upon. 

Get in touch with us and get the most out of your ad spend this political season. 

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