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Digital TV is the New Playground For Political Ads

2020 has changed the way a lot of people are doing things, but in some ways, like with political spending, we know a trend when we see one. “Political digital-video ads [have] grown more than sixfold since 2016,” this article from the Wall Street Journal claims, and we imagine that will continue to climb.

One reason is because, according to the article, digital TV ads “can be more efficiently delivered to a specific group of voters or their households, which also makes them more affordable.”

So if they are cheaper and make for better targeting, it’s obvious this is where ad dollars should be going in the future. But once you’ve figured out where they should go, more time should be spent making sure the ads themselves are effective.

There is a greater range of political ads being made today than ever before, and they try pretty much every sort of messaging tactic possible. Some try to tug at your heartstrings, while others want to make you worried or angry. Some are more focused on “kitchen table” issues, while others are more esoteric. Some highlight the candidate while others attack the opponent. All of this functions somewhat like a TV series or a film, but unlike those there is no chance to make up for an initial loss with a streaming deal or VOD. The ads are only successful if you win at the ballot box. This means the effectiveness of the ads is even more important -- they have to be short, to the point and persuasive.

The thought process that goes into most of this is based on the intuition of the campaign, their perceived strengths and weaknesses and what they’ve heard from polling and focus groups. But all of that comes with its own biases, risks and cost. And, as we all know, voters sometimes don’t even know what they like or dislike about politicians, let alone political ads.

While this endless political season will actually end at some point, the midterms are only two years away. And to gain an advantage in political ads, AI is one tool that is not being used enough.

Being able to process political ads with machine learning can reveal what is actually resonating with voters and what is not capturing their attention. By making millions of connections between potential voters and the ads, it offers a completely new perspective of how these ads are impacting them.

The implications of this are wide-ranging. Having a more data-driven view of the power of your ads means that you can alter the language, the imagery, the music, the color and anything else that the audience may be affected by. It allows you to look deeper at your ads and understand the voters in a more nuanced way. It also offers the opportunity to have the politician’s own rhetoric shifted towards the messaging that has resonated more positively in ads.

As they say, politics ain’t beanbag. It is a tough arena that requires a lot of hard work and acumen. It also requires the most cutting-edge tools available to make sure you snag every possible vote.

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