Ok, I'm back from the All Things Political conference and it was very interesting. The panel I was on discussed best practices in online political advertising and on the panel with me was Ben Katz from completecampaigns.com (a website in a box solution) and a woman from a Washington based buying group who pinch hit for a missing panel member (since I don’t remember her name I’ll call her MediaWoman).
Our moderator Chris Jennewein from SignonSanDiego.com did an excellent job of asking questions that were really centered around advertising and not just email and website; as I’ve written before, online campaigns are a lot more than just websites, blogs, and emails. So, almost all of his questions were in my sweet spot and I’m happy to report I was the star of the panel and if not the star from the first day of the conference. The only real competition came from political consultant Dan Schnur but that’s for another post!!!
At one point the conversation turned to the benefits of running TV ads versus online banner ads. MediaWoman talked about buying impressions, measuring clicks and why you get a better bang for your buck with TV where you know what is going to happen. That’s when I jumped in with my Just Stream It strategy.
JUST STREAM IT
Do you really know how many people actually watched your offline commercial? The answer is ABSOLUTELY no. Sure you have models and tracking tools but those just really estimate it; even if you got some TiVo data all you know is whether they pounded through them or not. Big deal. You rely on outdated forecasting models that say if you run this many GRPs in a market (someone said 3000 per week per market) you can expect this movement in the polls. Really now? How do you know they saw the ad? Why don’t you just stream them online.
Streaming them online via a company like PointRoll gives you many more options and tracking capabilities. For example, take this ad we did for Dick DeVos for Governor of Michigan and you can see what I’m talking about. We know how many times the ad is being served, how many clicks, what the amount of time spent in the ad unit interacting with the campaign, the post click tracking actions, and most importantly how many times the video was streamed. Can you get that kind of data from your TV ad buy? The answer is no.
That’s why political campaigns as November 7th approaches should just stream their offline commercials in a banner unit. The incremental costs are marginal and guess what you might even reach an audience that wants to view your TV ads wrapped around by a great unit that stresses call to actions like volunteering, voting, reading about records, and etc turning the content over to the viewer. If you bundle that ad unit with a smart media buy now you might actually influence real people.
Need more proof? Read this article found over in MSNBC called DVRs help voters avoid political ads. Listen to me. Politicians Should Just Stream Their Political Ads online. If you need some help, drop me an email so that the agency I work for, Connell Donatelli Inc can give you a hand...