From mobile applications and YouTube channels to text-based donations and Twitter debates, the presidential campaign season has turned into a decidedly digital affair. ClickZ research showed that by the end of January, the Obama and Romney campaigns had already spent a collective $15 million on digital advertising, ranging from targeted display ads---including social media ads---to streaming audio and video spots.
If you're looking to reach the tech savvy electorate, take a page from the political strategists' playbooks with these insights and tips.
Second-screen viewing more popular, powerful
Insight: Just as our study found earlier this year, the campaigns have noted the rise of second-screen viewing, or watching TV with a laptop, tablet or smartphone in hand. Most importantly, according to Business 2 Community, this second screen represents a portal to social channels that allow viewers to deepen their TV experience. Combining online social interaction with TV viewing could be the future template for how people watch TV, so this is a trend advertisers can't afford to ignore.
Tip: Second-screen viewing is rich with possibility and growing fast, so now's the time to get ahead of the curve by taking some risks. TV networks have taken some conservative steps in appealing to viewers who have Internet-connected devices in hand. For instance, networks have displayed branded hashtags in the corner of a screen during a sitcom. But there are more exciting ways to engage second-screen viewers: Current TV turned half of its broadcast screen into a Twitter feed continuously updated with real-time insights from journalists and casual viewers during the Republican National Convention.
All about mobile
Insight: Experiments like Current TV's encourage television viewers to engage with a presidential campaign through social media. But the campaigns recognize that viewers are using mobile devices for much more than social networking, so innovative mobile advertising will be a crucial part of the ad mix for both tickets. In April, political consultant Kristen Soltis told Politico, "2012 is all about mobile."
Tip: Mobile advertisers — whether working for a political campaign or a different type of organization---will benefit by localizing content. As Greg Sterling put it in an April Marketing Land article, thanks to mobile technology, "the phone can tell what's nearby and pinpoint user location." Although this doesn't necessarily mean that advertisers can match ads to the precise latitude and longitude of a viewer, it does mean that mobile advertising has taken audience targeting to a new level. This is hugely beneficial to candidates who want to convey the most relevant message to potential voters. Fierce Mobile Content noted that Mitt Romney used location-based mobile advertising effectively in swing states during the primaries.