If Potential Voters Don’t See Ads, Parties Lose Out: TubeMogul

Man with big hair watching television


In this guest post, Sam Smith, Australian MD of TubeMogul, believes that if parties don’t give voters ads – and engaging ones at that – then they’ll effectively lose out. And Smith has the evidence to prove it.

Winston Churchill once said: “In you’re not a liberal (left-wing) at twenty, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain”.

Now, this statement might be a bit harsh, but it does tend to follow traditional voting patterns.

As millennials have now become the largest demographic of potential voters, they also bring their younger – and usually more left-wing views to the table. In a country like Australia, where voting is mandatory, this becomes even more important.

So why do political marketers ignore this potential – and very large – voting audience?

Last week, TubeMogul released the results of a poll of almost 10,000 Australians of voting age to determine whether they had seen any online videos from either the Liberal or Labor parties – and the results were staggering. 85 per cent of the general public claimed they hadn’t seen a single ad.

While TV is still an effective brand building medium, younger Australians continue to fragment their content consumption across any of a number of alternate screens or formats, including VOD and mobile.

If political advertisers don’t put their money into online video spend, they are essentially losing access to a significant volume of voters. This is especially concerning for more left-wing campaigns (such as Labor) as they are missing out on targeting significant numbers of voters who would more likely resonate with their messaging and platforms.

The power of online video has already been proven twice: Once in the US and once –more recently – in the UK.

Last week saw the Brexit vote completed, with the result falling by just under two per cent in favour of leaving the EU – yet 75 per cent of voters aged 18-24 were in favour of remaining. It is estimated that just 36 per cent of people in the 18-24 category actually voted.

Had the number of voters in this age group been higher, and the 75 per cent figure of voters selecting Remain stayed true, chances are the final result could have been far closer, if not overturned.

So why didn’t they vote? Could it be that they never saw any ads during the run up to the election?

TubeMogul ran a survey to find out and discovered that over two thirds said that they had not seen a single advertisement – and of the respondents who had seen ads, almost one third said that the messages in the ads were irrelevant or ‘did not speak directly to them’.

The moral of the story? If potential voters don’t see any ads and the content doesn’t engage them, then parties lose votes.

In the US, the political power of video has already been proven.

“Online video works. You just have to look at the Sanders campaign to see it in effect,” said Matthew Dybwad, TubeMogul’s Washington D.C. head of political and public affairs.

“Sanders used video and ‘revolution messaging’ to tap into his Millennial base – and he did it where he knew Millennials got their content from and when they accessed it.

“When you target ‘regular people’ for funds and message sharing – to act as campaign advocates, if you will – digital becomes far more attractive because the costs are lower and allows for more precise targeting.”

Technology now allows advertisers to plan, buy and optimise online video campaigns in real time using a single platform – permitting advertisers to change creative, messaging and content throughout the duration of the campaign based on a wide number of measurement options including completion rate, click-through rate and more.

So, if videos featuring a message about the economy are generating negative response, it’s possible to optimise towards alternative message about – say – healthcare or education.

There are three key takeaways for any political party or brand advertiser emerging from our polling evidence:

1. Digital enables advertisers to target data segments beyond age and gender, looking at other strategic attributes of the audience – and this is critical to campaign success. It converts activists to advocates and voters.

2. Viewability is important and should be measured using an independent, third-party measurement tool or company. Without tracking viewability, advertisers have no idea if their ad had the opportunity to be seen by the audience and are unable to optimise towards it.

3. Programmatic is key to holistic media buying across all channels. With TV as the anchor, technology can help identify the right channels to maximise reach into the target audience across tv networks, websites, apps and social platforms.

The campaign can then be optimised in real-time, adjusting constantly to drive the best possible results for the advertiser.


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