Political campaigns

How MadHive is helping political campaigns make sense of streaming – TVREV

This Innovator Spotlight from our latest report, Streaming Political Ads: How Local Innovations and CTV are Changing the Game offers a behind-the-scenes look with Joe Marino, Managing Partner and Head of Client Success at MadHive

ALAN WOLK (AW): Why is streaming so popular in political campaigns? What else can it do that linear can’t?

JOE MARINO (JW): The advantage of streaming is that it is a digital version of traditional linear media. Same content, same screen size, but with the ability to apply the benefits of programmatic ad buying. What that means is that we can do more than just the standard, “adults 25-54” kind of targeting that you get on the shelf. With streaming, we can now be very precise with our targeting. We can search for Democratic-leaning swing voters, we can target congressional districts from a geographic perspective rather than a zip code perspective. So essentially it gave us the ability to deliver digital-style hyper-targeting on TV screens that political campaigns had never been able to access at scale before.

AW: How does MadHive help campaigns master streaming? Do you have a team dedicated to working with political campaigns?

JM: Yes, we have a dedicated team. We have to somehow do that because it’s very common for us to get a call saying “I need this to go live now and run for three days and clear X dollars” and it’s essential that we have people in place who can help support, troubleshoot, answer questions. We have engineers, products, customer success and revenue strategy, and we all work together to provide advice to political campaigns.

AW: How do you deal with the overfrequency which seems to be a real problem with streaming, where the same advertisement can appear several times in the same module?

JM: From your perspective, overfrequency occurs when an agency partners with 15 different providers, and they’re all using different technologies to deliver media to the same area. It’s a real challenge with political advertising because they often want to blitz an area in a short period of time. What happens is that they will receive a certain amount of money that they have to spend in just two or three days, usually just before the election. They are therefore not at all interested in effective household targeting. That said, excessive frequency can lead to negative impressions, so we have tools that can help customers guard against this.

With MadHive they can log into our platform and set a frequency limit at the household level, such as one per hour or one per day, whatever frequency they feel is warranted, and then we can ensure that these households see an ad with a different message or a completely different non-political ad.

AW: We see that political streaming ad spending will increase this year compared to 2020, to nearly $10 billion. Where does this money come from: digital, linear or both?

JM: It’s both. Before streaming TV was a thing, there was online video. And those budgets were pretty healthy. But as streaming TV started to grow, those budgets started to shift very quickly to take advantage of premium linear content as well as the TV screen as a device you can now target.

With digital, people look at Facebook and other platforms and assess who they’re really reaching there, wondering what their stance will be on political advertising, given all that’s happened in 2020 and if that’s the best place to plant their flag. So we’re seeing campaigns shifting money to streaming from digital as well.

Money is also being moved from linear, especially now that the big media companies all have their own streaming services. Let’s say you plan your purchases and talk to your local TV sales rep. They’ll try to sell you on Tubi and local streaming because combining it all makes sense – the audience changes and you want to get all the reach possible.

AW: What kind of data can political campaigns access on streaming that they can’t get on linear?

JM: What’s critical with streaming is because it’s digital, you get a deterministic stream rather than a probabilistic one.

With linear, you simply get confirmation that your spot aired on that channel at that time. In streaming, we get a lot more information, all tied to a specific household based on data from IP addresses, device IDs and geolocation. This data is obviously non-PII, protected and safe for privacy.

There’s another benefit to having all of these data signals coming in, and that’s that they can be mined for attribution or performance-based measurement. So you can see which people were exposed to your ad, and if they went to the website afterwards, or downloaded an app, or went to a physical location to vote.

Even better, you get all that data from streaming to a deterministic one-to-one match. That’s a huge step up from linear where you can at most determine that your ad was shown and then within a three-minute window there was web activity, so we’ll attribute that activity to your announcement. It’s probabilistic data and it’s not really that valuable.