Ad Options Tightening For Campaigns As Election Day Nears

October 2, 2020

Campaigns and groups are under pressure to get their creative and media buys lined up for the final stretch. 

The competitive map is stretching to new states and districts, which will eat up TV inventory that wasn’t already spoken for. Facebook is cutting off political ads a week before the election and audio options — at least when it comes to digital — can be limited considering it can take a week to get a host read on a popular podcast. 

If campaigns or groups are looking at CTV and OTT buys as an alternative, most providers also require clients to come prepared. Buys typically aren’t approved by the platforms without the creative passing muster at the same time. Once the platform approves, the publisher also has to accept it. 

While the vendors C&E spoke with said they’ve got dedicated teams set up to handle a political spending influx, there’s still a lag time akin to broadcast television. 

“That’s the biggest thing that we talk about right now. If you want scale, ease and performance, then let’s sit down and strategize now rather than five minutes before you need everything to be live,” said Kyle Benn, a VP at SpotX, a video ad platform that boasted a 900-percent increase in political ad spending since April. 

“We’re not at a point yet where inventory is scarce and people are fighting tooth and nail over it,” Benn added. “But if you’re looking for the most amount of inventory out there, the less of an attack ad, the better. Those can obviously be blocked more often” by the publishers. 

Targeting options, however, are starting to shrink. Campaigns that have very specific layers of targeting may be disappointed. 

“At this point in the cycle, it may be that we can find Peoria Republican voters who are pet owners, but we may not get specific to cat lovers,” said Keith Norman, who heads political advertising at OTT/CTV provider Premion. “[Clients] are accepting that they may not be able to be as specific as they would have been when demand was lower.” 

As far as turnaround goes, Norman said: “A week would be awesome, a couple of days is what we request. It usually is a one-to-two-day turnaround.” 

Meanwhile, vendors say they’ve come up with a solution for frequency capping with political spots, which will be more of an issue in the coming weeks. 

Read more on Campaigns & Elections here.

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