TV Rules, OTT on the Rise, as Political Ad Campaign Season Begins

| April 10, 2019

See why TV & OTT ad campaigns with TEGNA have never been more influential, effective, or important in the political spectrum.

As we approach another major election cycle, TV viewers all across the country will soon start to see ads for local candidates running for office … and lots of them.

In fact, a recent article from Forbes crunched the numbers and found that $9 billion was spent on ads during the 2018 midterm elections, with $4.6 billion allocated for broadcast and cable, and $1.7 billion on other digital platforms, such as social media and email marketing.

Why? Because they’re effective.

TV Reigns Supreme

A new U.S. Elections Project Voter Funnel Study shows that television was the most important influence on voter’s decision-making process in 2018. Notable findings from the study include:

– TV leads the way as the most influential channel to get voters to the polls.
– Local news is the most trusted platform for reliable political information.
– Political ads drive a substantial amount of search traffic.

OTT & Political Advertising on the Rise

While the effectiveness of political TV ad campaigns is not breaking news, what is relatively new is the rise of Over-the-Top streaming in the political arena.

A PwC report found that 78 percent of U.S. consumers subscribe to at least one OTT service. Furthermore, Nielsen Scarborough data found that of OTT subscribers registered to vote in 2018, 96 percent said they would vote in the presidential election, 86 percent would vote in statewide elections, and 82 percent would vote in local elections.

On top of a fast-growing audience, OTT offers many other inviting opportunities to reach voters. As our very own Jim Wilson, President of Premion, told MediaPost in 2018, “With constrained budgets, candidates need to be resourceful in their media spend to achieve specific campaign goals — to sway undecided voters and attract financial supporters.”

When political ad campaigns are leveraged via OTT, candidates have an opportunity to reach a specific and targeted audience. Since OTT viewers are not channel-surfers, as they’ve self-selected the programming, they represent a highly engaged audience. OTT is also addressable, as it has the ability to serve different ads to different audience segments watching the same programming. Political advertisers can leverage richer datasets to target voters by political affiliation, congressional district, income, education level, and other interests.

Aligning With Safe Content in a World of ‘Fake News’

In a digital environment of low transparency and limited safeguards, campaign dollars can easily go to waste. So much so, that Facebook created an Ad Library to do what TechCrunch describes as “making good on its promise to increase transparency” after the ads on the social network were used in an attempt to influence the presidential elections in 2016.

But while many voters have lost confidence in Facebook to a point, the good news is that a 2018 study from Poynter found that 76 percent of Americans, coming from all sides of the aisle, expressed a great deal or fair amount of trust in their local news stations. By comparison, 55 percent trust national news networks, 59 percent for national newspapers, and 47 percent for online-only news outlets.

With 49 television stations in 41 markets (and 11 more stations acquired in March), TEGNA presents a unique opportunity to align ads with trusted political content on a local level. To top things off, In March 2019, TEGNA was awarded four Walter Cronkite Awards for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.

“I’m proud of the work that our local stations do to keep their communities informed through critical news, information and special programming, especially as they make decisions about the issues that matter most to them through the election process,” says Dave Lougee, president, and CEO of TEGNA.

About TEGNA Marketing Solutions

TEGNA Marketing Solutions delivers innovative and unparalleled solutions for advertisers. We are a one-stop shop that helps businesses thrive through an unmatched suite of services and solutions that reach consumers across television, email, social and over-the-top (OTT) platforms, including Premion, TEGNA’s OTT advertising service. Across platforms, TEGNA tells empowering stories, conducts impactful investigations and delivers innovative marketing solutions. For more information contact us.

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