Mobile Marketing + Political Campaigns: Going Beyond TV to Optimize Local-Voter Impact

Tap mobile marketing to maximize video outcomes at local-voter levels, saving on large-scale CPP and cutting the waste in national TV spend.

As the debates get underway, and as the final push for this year’s presidential election begins, campaigns are looking to move the needle, driving preference-polling and votes in key geographies.

Campaign dollars are pouring into advertising, and, as Ad Age notes, political budgets are under pressure when it comes to this fall’s extraordinary pair of candidates — it’s difficult to predict how voters will respond to them this November 8. Bottom line, campaigns are stretching to reach voters and they’re looking to target their messages at a granular level of location.

And while mobile marketers know that television typically gets the lion’s share of political spend, location-powered mobile marketing is poised to give candidates the power to drive impactful ads to specific voter segments in areas as focused as a single town — and mobile marketing can deliver results at a better price than television alone.

Let’s look at what that means, and how mobile marketing — and specifically location-powered mobile marketing — can change the way campaigns approach advertising spend in this year’s final election stretch.

The High Price of TV: Political Campaigns Pay Plenty (But Still Struggle to Maximize Local Impact)
Television is an expensive way to advertise, and it’s only getting pricier at the end of 2016.

The national primetime broadcast cost-per-point, for example, is set to increase 20% — to $34,903 in Q4 from $29,016 in Q3 — based on aggregated numbers across networks (for women aged 25–54, as reported by media buyers at multiple agencies). Early morning and late-night broadcast will both increase 17%. The list goes on. No category of television CPP will decline.

Meanwhile, for political campaigns looking to target local markets and niche demographics, local TV already comes at a premium — costing up to 25%–30% more, on top of the national dollars candidates pay in the first place. To avoid the premiums, political campaigns try for pricing efficiencies; they buy TV at national and regional scale. But then they get waste. Some 30% of a national campaign won’t actually reach the local targets the campaign needs to acquire.

In other words, candidates pay a high dollar amount to focus on a granular audience, and we know that specific pockets — critical ZIP codes and geographies — are still not being maximized. But there is way to change this dynamic. Location-powered mobile marketing can reach local voters at a much better price-point, recasting the way political managers build their spend around geographies, mobile users, and TV.

New Model: TV at Scale + Location-Based Mobile
Location-based marketing can change the way political campaigns advertise at a precisely focused level by allowing candidates to target ads at specific localities, deploying video device by device. In this model, campaigns set a threshold — it could be 70% of a city, or 50% of a town, whatever it needs to be for a given goal — and then they run that local threshold against a baseline of national TV spend.

By teeing-up locally targeted video, using location-based mobile, the campaign ultimately buys TV on a smaller scale — and it doesn’t have to suck up that 30% waste when it comes to the usual national approach. The candidate owns the pocket geographies with maximized video outcomes in the communities that get the mobile-marketing spend.

The cost of TV is bound to increase, Q3 to Q4, as we saw above, but here’s the good news: the cost of location-powered mobile marketing won’t climb along with it. For political campaigns, this factor becomes a powerful advantage, especially for candidates looking to drive localized results.

The takeaway is this — getting to critical, niche, location-specific voters doesn’t have to be a spray-and-pray strategy. At the end of the day, we can safely say that political campaigns are always going to want and need television advertising as part of their mix, but, by giving them the opportunity to fine-tune their local reach, we create for them a new approach for the future — a better use of campaign budget coupled with granular targeting and measurable results.

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