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The Power of Programmatic Advertising for Political Campaigns

Updated: Jul 29, 2022

Political advertising in America is nothing new. Political parties arose within a decade following George Washington's nonpartisan election to the presidency. Federalists, Democratic-Republicans, Democrats, Whigs, and, lastly, Republicans were the options for voters in 1854. Presidential candidates did not travel to campaign at first: they were nominated, but it was unacceptable to encourage voters to vote for them personally.

As a result, local supporters were tasked with organizing campaign events and speaking on their behalf. On Election Day, voter drives in pubs and on the roadways followed parades, marches, and stump speeches by surrogates. Partisan publications were another factor, aligning themselves with a specific political party and openly skewing news coverage to favor allies while excoriating rivals.

During this time, political symbols began to emerge. Although Thomas Nast is credited with popularizing the donkey to represent the Democrats and the elephant to represent the Republicans, the donkey first appeared during Andrew Jackson's 1828 campaign when he was branded as a "jackass." By adopting the donkey for its merits, he turned the tables on his foes.

After the Civil War, Nast reinstated the donkey and the elephant as Republican symbols. His cartoons and those of his forefathers and colleagues were widely disseminated in mass-market periodicals, newspapers, and as individual sheet prints and are attributed to swaying voters at a time when most would never have seen or witnessed their presidential candidate speaking in person.

Instead, they read campaign literature and went to picnics, barbecues, parades, town hall meetings, and rallies. Campaign songs about candidates fit right along with a culture that valued singing. In some form or another, many of these early voter recruitment activities are still used in presidential campaigns presently.

However, there have been many changes since then. Today's political campaigns are increasingly reliant on the internet. Civic groups can communicate more quickly and reach a wider audience using mass-communication tools like email, websites, and podcasts for various types of involvement. These Internet tools are utilized for fundraising, lobbying, volunteering, community building, and organizing for charitable causes. Individual political candidates are also promoting their election campaigns on the internet. Politicians acknowledged using social media for marketing and engagement with people in a study of Norwegian electoral campaigns. Facebook was the main promotional medium, while Twitter was used for more constant communication.

The use of digital technology for political campaigns is only expanding from there. Have you considered using programmatic for political ads, for example? With the elections approaching and digital marketing spending expanding throughout all sectors, political ad spending is likely to increase significantly by 2022. As a result, there's no better time than now to start using programmatic advertising in your election campaigns.

Instead of using a human to purchase digital advertising space, programmatic advertising uses artificial intelligence. The goal is to increase the accountability and efficiency of both the advertising and the publisher. RTB, or real-time bidding, accomplishes this by purchasing advertising at the same time a visitor loads a page.

Programmatic targeting allows you to find and reach high-frequency consumers across the internet, increasing the likelihood of content completion. You can reach a larger audience with programmatic advertising. We can leverage Google's content, and the majority of other paid advertising on the internet at 7Social. Beyond Google, there are many other sources, and our technology can access them all.

How to Use Programmatic Advertising for Political Campaigns

Geofencing is a type of geotargeting. Although both geofencing and geotargeting are part of location-based marketing, they serve different functions. Meanwhile, geofencing simply includes constructing a virtual fence around a given geographic region; geotargeting entails employing a variety of parameters (including geofencing) to reach specific individuals!

How Does Geofencing Work

An administrator or programmer must first create a virtual barrier around a specific area in GPS- or RFID-enabled software before using geofencing. When designing a smartphone app, this can be as simple as a ring- 100 feet around a location on Google Maps, as defined using APIs. When an approved device enters or quits that region, as set by the administrator or programmer, the artificial geofence will trigger a response.

Geotargeting Your Audience

Marketers use geofences and mobile advertising to reach their target audiences depending on their present location to provide ads in real-time or their historical location to serve ads later. Behaviors, interests, and other factors determine the audience. For instance, you want to reach fathers. You can place a geofence around a set neighborhood and then set up your ads to push to males aged 18-45 who have at least one kid.

Understand Your Target Audience's Voice

Everyday language differs from one state to the next and country to another. Investigate regional dialects to ensure that the language you employ in your geotargeted adverts corresponds to the locale to which they are directed. Some people call a Coke "pop." Others will say "cola" or "soda."

Have a good time with this! If you're targeting younger audiences, research popular language and see if you can seamlessly include it in your ads. Proceed with caution and double-check if the slang is still in use. If it appears forced, your business may never recover.

Not only is it critical to pick the appropriate locations, but it's also critical to avoid the wrong ones. Your ad should indeed be presented to a demographic you know would be interested, saving you the time and money it would take to explain your error if someone tried to order anything to a location where people won't have the chance to elect you. Limit your ad spend in their area if they don't work or live in your district and use it in places where they do!

Collecting the Right Votes

Driving the right visitors to your campaign site can save you both time and money. Time and money spent on unqualified leads and poor marketing strategies are among the largest wastes of resources in many campaigns and indeed in many organizations in general. If you don't target accurately, you wind up developing and disseminating communications with a very low possibility of achieving intended results with unqualified prospects. Your elected officials waste time and energy on ineffective activities and talk with people who have no interest in your election.

Consider pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. So, what exactly is Pay Per Click marketing? Advertisers pay a fee each time their adverts are clicked under the programmatic internet marketing paradigm. When combined with audience targeting, this can be quite effective, but when it isn't, the effects can be terrible. You could pay $1,500 for 1,000 clicks and just collect one vote. That's a minuscule return on investment. You may have fewer visits when you target the advertisements that lead to clicks, but these people are more likely to buy your product or service. Instead of wasting money on clicks, you're attracting the attention of people who could and would vote for you if they knew what you stood for.

Be a Political Weatherman

Before you spend a dollar, use campaign forecasting to understand better how your campaign will scale and perform. You may prepare your political campaign strategy in this manner not only swiftly but also effectively. Forecasting will enable you to find the most valuable possibilities and, consequently, reach customers through the most effective media mix.

Forecasting is best used in the early planning stages of political campaigns since it is designed to assist you in determining how successful your campaign will scale before it is launched. You're in the best possible position to use this technology if you know what your financial plan is and what places and voters you want to target.

Methods of Political Forecasting

Averaging Poll Results

Integrating poll data reduces a poll's forecasting errors. Average total poll results, such as the RealClearPolitics poll average, are included in political forecasting models.

Poll Damping

When faulty public opinion-makers are not being used in a forecast model, poll damping occurs. For example, early in a campaign, polls are poor predictors of voters' ultimate selections. Ahead of an election, poll findings are a more reliable predictor.

Regression Models

Political scientists and economists frequently use regression models of previous elections. This is done to aid in the prediction of political party votes, such as Democrats and Republicans in the United States. The data aids their party's next presidential candidate in making predictions about the future. A public opinion parameter, a trial heat poll, or a presidential approval rating are usually included in most models. Provided with both polling data and prior voting patterns for each state, Bayesian analytics may be used to calculate the procedure yields of the true proportion of voters who will vote for every contender in each state. As Election Day advances, each poll can be weighted based on its age and size, resulting in a very dynamic forecasting method.

More Useful Forecasting Vocabulary


The seat is not expected to be extremely contested at this time; therefore, the party is likely to remain intact, but this could change.


In surveying and forecasting, one party or candidate has a minor edge, but other scenarios are possible.


It's quite improbable that the present party in power will change in the current election.


Used less frequently than the other phrases but denotes a minor advantage to one party or the other.


These are the seats that are thought to be the most competitive, with multiple parties having a chance to win.

Most campaigns obtain voter data from a small number of nonpartisan or partisan data brokers. These companies attempt to collect information on all individuals in the United States, regardless of whether or not they are registered voters. Although it's improbable that a single vendor possesses extensive files on all registered US voters, the Pew Research Center discovered that over 90% of people in its own sample of US adults were located on at least one register in research on commercial voter files released in 2018.

Public voting records, which include a voter's name, address, and party affiliation, are the most common source of voter data. However, voter data is uneven and decentralized: each state maintains its own database, with often disparate qualities. As a result, vendors complement it with other data sources such as phone books and credit reports. It's difficult to acquire a complete view of what goes into the suppliers' databases because the recipes they use are generally deemed trade secrets.

Based on essential variables like name, address, gender, and date of birth, data providers strive to match and integrate disparate data sets to build one comprehensive record for each person in the United States. L2, for example, is one of the largest organizations dealing in this data, claiming to have over 600 data attributes culled from census data, corporate emails, contributor data sets, and other sources. Most suppliers, according to experts, supply hundreds of data pieces about every voter.

Imagine you are running for office in a district where you know there is a large focus on the environment. It is a topic that really drives the conversation in your area. Maybe there is an ordinance on the table that would ban the use of plastic bags. It's the hot button issue of this election. You want to make sure your campaign speaks to the issue and that people who are most likely to share your view know that they have a candidate in their corner.

That is where contextual targeting would come in. Contextual targeting is the practice of displaying advertising depending on the content of a website. In this case, let's say for a moment that you are for the ban. You may choose then to buy programmatic ad space on a site such as ( or on forums about climate change.

It's also worth thinking about semantic targeting, a form of contextual targeting. Instead of just scanning for keywords that match, semantic targeting uses machine learning to comprehend the meaning of each page of information. This approach of targeting is effective. A crawler combs the internet for websites to categorize based on context and semantics. The ad server receives the content information from the page when a user visits it and matches it with relevant advertising for the keywords and content.

Look for Doppelgängers

A mysterious, precise double of a living person is known as a doppelgänger. It's a German word that means "double walker" or "double goer" in English. A doppelgänger isn't simply somebody who looks like you, but someone who is a perfect replica of you, down to the way you move, behave, speak, and dress. Even if you can verify you were not at the spot where your doppelgänger was observed, a friend or even a close family who sees your doppelgänger will believe it was you.

Political constituents, like all audiences, have doppelgängers too. They are known in the advertising world as lookalike audiences. Lookalike audiences are an "algorithmically-assembled group of individuals who reflect, in some way, another set of members," according to one definition. It refers to a new targeting technique in the age of digital advertising that helps reach potential clients online who are likely to share similar interests and habits as existing customers.

Using lookalike audiences allows you to reach out to potential users online who have similar interests and behaviors as your current users. You can tag site visitors using a pixel on your campaign site and then utilize information about those visitors to target others who behave similarly to the ones you've identified.

Incorporate lookalike audiences into your political campaign strategy to swiftly attract new people who are likely to be interested in your campaign and platform, even if they are unfamiliar with it. It's a fantastic method to raise awareness about your political campaign and communicate with new people who could identify with your political message.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, programmatic advertising is a technique for political campaigns to streamline the purchase and sale of ad space on the web and across mobile devices. It enables a more tailored approach to marketing, ensuring that the voter base contacted is the one most likely to invest in or vote for a certain candidate based on their interests, opinions, or demographic. Rather than taking days to negotiate the use of ad space, transactions may now be completed in milliseconds, with step-by-step analyses for campaigns on the system's backend to evaluate how successful and effective their ads are.

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