The Strategic Media Buying Approach
We are a digital-first agency, but an effective political campaign is full-service. Candidates and causes effectively utilize all media to win campaigns. Constant media exposure continues to be a key indicator of a relevant campaign, and the aim of buying broadcast media ads is to garner more votes.
Here are our main takeaways from the 2018 Midterm election that we think will offer insight into the next political season —
1. Record Spending
The amount spent on broadcast media advertising during the 2018 Midterm elections exceeded former elections by a wide margin. For reference, the 2017 cycle exceeded 2016 by 17 percent. The trend is that year after year, campaigns are spending more and more money on digital and broadcast advertising, which translates to lower availability and more campaigns that are willing to pay for a higher tier of advertising.
This presents an obvious challenge for media buyers: Do you buy at the LUR and risk the refunds or pay the going rate?
2. Less Civil, More “Real” Advertising
An interesting trend in the 2018 midterm cycle were negative spots that dominated the landscape this year. If this trend continues, it could have consequences for how effective the messaging is. After a bombardment of political ads throughout the election cycle, people are more apt to mute their television, or tune out when any political spot comes on.
So how do political advertisements cut through the noise? Creative, rigorous, resilient advertising that evolves based on the feedback from your target audience. That may mean what was working early in your campaign doesn’t work after three weeks. Winning campaigns are flexible and don’t get their feelings hurt. Instead, they make the necessary changes to stay relevant and win over voters.
3. Data Exhaust Impediments
In 2018, we saw a dizzying amount of data available to advertisers. As tech advances, that means algorithms and demographic data swell to exhaustible information. Data exhaust is real, and it can affect your political campaign if you let it. Campaigns are no longer measured by ratings from television and radio stations. Digital-first advertising allows us to track campaign engagement across every social media platform and well into the interwebs. It’s 2019, which means I can type in your name and three minutes later know your home address, the name of your spouse, what year your grandmother was born, and what grocery store you visit when you just need five more minutes before going home. Don’t be so overwhelmed by data that you don’t dive into analytics, but also don’t inefficiently use the data that’s at your disposal. Winning campaigns know how to use data to strategically allocate campaign funds, identify potential threats, successfully target swing voters, and more.
As we move into the next election cycle, it’s important to revisit the previous election season. The Sandlot Strategic approach is to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of previous campaigns to solve problems, find solutions and take strategic risks to win campaigns.