people waving American flags in front of the White House in Washington D.C.
By Grace Briscoe Nov 12 2015

Introducing the Political Digital Digest: November 2015 Edition

The 2016 presidential race is on, but the battle for digital ad inventory is only just beginning – and we want to be your frontrunner news source for all the latest digital trends and topics relating to the election. Ergo, we are pleased to introduce the Political Digital Digest – your guide to everything digital in the 2016 election. We’ll be compiling the latest political articles, reports, and other bits of digital deliciousness every month leading up to the day of the election. Because it’s clear a huge standout at next year’s election will be digital advertising. And here’s why.

In 2008, the Obama campaign upped the digital ante, spending an unprecedented ten percent of its paid media budget on digital advertising – roughly five times more than the McCain campaign’s digital investment. The Obama campaign increased that percentage to 15 percent in 2012, a reported ten times larger investment than the Romney campaign that year. This election cycle, those numbers are expected to drastically increase. In fact, according to Borrell Associates, an advertising research firm that tracks media trends, digital ad spending for the 2016 election is expected to top $1 billion for the first time in this election cycle – an increase of nearly 700 percent from 2012, when it reached roughly $160 million. The critical role of digital media as a channel for mass awareness and engagement with key voter groups has been established, but it’s just as important that we continue innovating and improving in the space – and make all those digital dollars work hard for their campaigns.

Still not convinced digital will be a sizeable driver in the 2016 election? Check out this month’s Political Digital Digest to hear from other leading industry news sources:

Not Up for Debate: Why Programmatic Advertising Will Dominate the Race for Digital Ad Spend in the 2016 Elections
With 20 declared candidates for President in the upcoming election cycle, programmatic advertising is projected to play a vital role in how voter campaigns are executed. With the power and precision of programmatic technology, political campaigns will be able to reach voters with quality, hyper-targeted ads that can be adjusted on-the-fly.

New Facebook Tool Allows Mail-Style Targeting
Facebook recently rolled out its new “political influencer” targeting tool, which will allow campaigns to target their posts and display ads to politically active users. The new service will be available for campaigns at the presidential level all the way down to the local dog catcher, according to Facebook.

Digital Advertising Can Increase Political Candidates’ Chance to Win
According to MediaPost, identifying, understanding, and reaching the right audience will be key to winning the 2016 election. In fact, data will play a large role in bringing a level of accuracy that has yet to be seen in prior campaigns. To come out on top, candidates will need to align themselves with technology partners who know how to leverage data to the fullest.

Political Ads Won’t Be Ruining Your Movie Experience Anymore
After years of accepting campaign spots, National CineMedia (which sells ads that appear on 20,000 screens) has decided to cut political commercials through November 2016 in movie theaters. This comes as a result of a numerous amounts of customer complaints in 2012 about defamatory political ads that ran in theaters. Good news for those looking to escape the non-stop political chatter!

Digital Ads Sell Candidates and Causes, in 15-Second Bursts
Fifteen seconds is not a lot of time to make a compelling argument or share a candidate’s full life story in political advertising. But in our mobile dominated world (and attention-deficit era), it will have to do. In this piece, the New York Times discusses what it takes to attract voters in our digital day and age, as well as the challenges that go along with perfecting the science behind responsive digital ads.

Can 140 Characters Affect the 2016 Presidential Election?
In an effort to reach the younger generations, front-running presidential candidates are varying their advertising tactics to fit the 140 character limit on Twitter and other social platforms. Candidates are utilizing social media channels to bolster their messages to this younger audience, as well as to engage with followers and make emotional connections with voters.

2016 Turning Into the Snapchat and Instagram Election
In this digital (and constantly on-the-go) day and age, more and more voters are getting news on social media sites and mobile devices instead of television and print outlets. As a result, many of the 2016 election candidates are focusing their advertising efforts toward social platforms, especially Snapchat and Instagram. Candidates like Hillary Clinton have already gone all-in with these newer social media sites.

2016 Campaigns Will Spend $4.4 Billion On TV Ads, But Why?
National Public Radio (NPR) offers a unique perspective on television advertising in the election. Campaigns spend a huge chunk of their budgets on television spots, but the ads seem to only have a small effect on how Americans vote. Additionally, television isn’t keeping people’s attention the way it used to. It still reaches a huge audience, but is it reaching the right audience? That’s where digital comes in.

Stay tuned for our December edition of the Political Digital Digest for even more news and insight on the upcoming election.