Labor Day in the United States signals the unofficial home stretch of the midterm election cycle. The primaries are complete, parties have chosen full slates of candidates, the kids are back in school, and the distractions of summer vacation season are behind us.
The “real campaign” has now begun in earnest for 2022 midterms. Candidates are vying for all 435 seats in the federal House of Representatives and for 35 Senate seats. Thirty-nine states are also choosing governors and other state and local officials.
The 2020 census triggered a round of redistricting. That’s also complete now, making this the first election to follow new district boundaries. This makes voter targeting more challenging since many voters find themselves in a different district from elections past.
As campaigns move into this final phase, candidates and their teams are searching for that one extra tactic to lift them over the top. As voters’ home viewing habits have shifted toward connected television (CTV) and many other screens, political advertising across platforms will be key to snatching victory in close electoral matches.
Multi-Platform Voter Outreach is Tactic of Choice in 2022
At the culmination of the 2022 election cycle, the tactic of choice is proving to be multi-platform voter outreach. Today’s voters use multiple digital media channels for a range of information and entertainment needs. Campaigns need to reach those voters at each of those diverse media sites.
The goal is to seamlessly display the same announcements on a range of social media, display, CTV and OTT video platforms at once. Multi-platform voter outreach expands the number of unique voters that campaigns can reach. Candidates can no longer expect to connect with all the potential voters they need using just one or two channels.
Every online platform a campaign adds to its target audience boosts its outreach with today’s connected electorate.
Get-out-the-vote (GOTV) campaigns are front and center from now until November 8. There is also a push for final fundraising efforts for the home stretch as initial budgets start to dwindle.
Stakes Higher than Ever – Stumbles Can Be Fatal
The stakes are higher than ever at this stage, and a stumble during the final leg of the campaign can be fatal. Election dates are fixed, so there’s no opportunity for campaigns to move the goalposts.
Adding to those risks is the fact that working with any one platform puts campaigns at the mercy of each platform’s unique advertising policies. Platforms can change their policies toward campaign ads with no prior notice. This can leave campaigns that bet on a single channel or buying platform with all their eggs in one basket.
In past campaigns, platforms like Adobe and Meta have made abrupt, last minute policy changes. These new practices restricted or even banned publicity and promotion from political organizations.
These changes tossed campaigns into scramble mode in the final phases of election cycles. Through diversification, political campaigns mitigate the risks of shifting attitudes at the online networks on which a campaign’s success depends.
If campaigns had unlimited funds, it is easier to spread their massive spend across any platform available and afford the precise analytics reporting to understand where they are getting the best results. However, the fees required for this kind of research are often prohibitive, especially for local candidates.
To contain campaign costs, political teams generally work with up to three demand-side platforms (DSPs) to bid for advertising space on a range of sites. Although spending on multiple DSPs can seem redundant, it’s usually more cost-effective because it empowers political advertisers to compare their options and pricing while amplifying their reach.
Multi-Platform Frequency Capping Targets Voter More Efficiently
Targeting today’s media savvy electorate also means avoiding excessive repetition of messaging. Exposure to the same ad reinforces awareness for a time. After that point, the messaging provides sharply diminishing returns for the campaign.
The rule of thumb is that after about a dozen exposures to a political message, its efficacy flattens. After roughly 25 exposures, results drop drastically.
This leads media-savvy political campaigns to use multi-platform frequency capping to target more potential voters more efficiently. Frequency capping allows campaigns to set how many times platforms display messages to specific voters over a predetermined time frame.
When a targeted voter reaches their frequency cap, across all platforms and channels, political advertisers can automatically change their messaging to help move voters through their journey to the polls.
As the sprint to the finish begins, campaigns become less predictable. Multi-platform voter outreach is an effective approach for political campaigns to avoid falling victim to this year’s “October Surprise.”
Multi-platform voter outreach also enables campaigns to improve reach and contain costs. It’s not too late for campaign staff to take advantage of this strategy as part of their 2022 campaigns.