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Effects of Political on RTB

3 MINUTE READ | April 4, 2016

Effects of Political on RTB

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Cristina Freeman

Cristina Freeman has written this article. More details coming soon.

As we get closer to the elections, there will be a higher volume of buyers in the marketplace resulting in more competition for audiences and higher CPMs. Political type ads demand flexibility and responsiveness based on general public feedback and competitor parties’ strategic messaging. RTB gives political advertisers the agility needed to be relevant and impactful.

According to eMarketer, the industry is expecting political ads to contribute to approx. $1bn in digital spend in 2016. This is a 5,000% increase from $22.3mm spent on digital ads in 2008.

What to Expect

  • CPMs will probably see a 2-10% price increase due to higher demand

  • We should see a higher amount of inventory being produced within the News, Business/Finance and Politics vertical. CPMs will be affected more so than inventory

  • Spending by state will vary. California, Texas, Virginia, and Florida are expected to be higher volume as it relates to digital spending

  • Inventory will most likely get locked up starting in late September through November 8th. This is the same time big box retailers will start executing their digital plan in preparation to the Holiday season

  • Business/Finance, Political Interest, News and Local sites are expected to see the highest increase in competition due to political ads. However, we may see an increase in outreach on specific DMAs in the final days/week culminating to Election Day (mid October on)

  • Although a large portion of investment will be allocated to RTB, we should expect to see a mix of direct and RTB buying inventory

  • According to WhatRusWhere, top sites currently used by political parties are:,,,,,,,,,, and the

  • Video ads is still expected to be highly utilized by political parties. Facebook is a major area in which political invests in through video creative formats

  • Mobile is gaining market share for political ads more so than desktop

Plan Ahead

If you want to make sure your digital media dollars are spent as efficiently as possible during this tumultuous time leading to Election Day, plan ahead. This will mostly affect retailers that will significantly increase their digital media dollars during the months of October through December to support the Holiday season.

Here are few tips to help you plan your media dollars more effective.

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  • During the weeks leading to the Election Day, avoid News, Business/Financial, Political, Portals type of sites and content (Mid October on)

  • Avoid DMAs that are expected to have the highest political investment focus until the Election Day is over (CA, TX, VA and FL)

  • Based on historical data, if you have a list of publishers that work well for your brand, do direct reservation deals before inventory starts to get locked in by political parties (late September)

  • Watch CPM fluctuation closely during the final days/week culminating to Election Day so that you can shift budget accordingly

  • Test multiple ad formats. As video and mobile, text ads might be the preferred ad formats for political, focus your investment on unique ad formats such as native

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