How AI and contextual targeting help gain voter attention for the 2024 election

Kara Ullmann, head of political, US, Seedtag

CTV advertising will be front and center throughout this year’s election season, with political ad spend on CTV projected to increase by 506% from spend in 2020, according to eMarketer. CTV will be essential for the presidential candidates and even more so for those down-ballot. Despite the apparent differences between advertising to voters and advertising to potential customers, the two overlap more than marketers may expect. 

Advertisers look to technology to ensure campaigns effectively reach critical, persuadable voters — many of whom are underrepresented in traditional voter files. When advertisers leverage technology to analyze real-time data on media consumption and online behavior, they ensure messages are delivered, relevant and engaging.

AI bridges a gap in voter targeting

One of the most profound shifts in political advertising is using custom contextual AI targeting to understand and predict voter interests and behaviors. This technology can now process vast amounts of data from diverse sources to identify trends and patterns. 

For example, by analyzing what people read online, AI can help craft campaign messages that resonate deeply on hot-button issues like immigration and abortion — topics anticipated to dominate the 2024 election cycle beyond traditional party lines.

Traditional political advertising methods often fail to succeed in digital arenas where young voters engage with dynamic and interactive content. Custom contextual targeting facilitates voter discovery by allowing advertisers to identify voters based on their interests and mindsets in real time.

Data-driven approaches are key to conquesting

Despite the advantages offered by CTV and AI, campaigns continue to grapple with issues of cost and inventory. The demand for precise targeting leads to higher costs, and the finite availability of premium inventory on popular platforms amplifies these challenges. This is where the strategic use of data becomes even more critical. Rather than traditional broad-spectrum campaigns, data-driven approaches allow for conquesting — converting undecided or persuadable voters, much like attracting new customers in the business world.

Incremental reach also plays a crucial role, particularly in battleground states. By leveraging comprehensive contextual data across premium publisher networks, teams can identify and fill gaps in outreach, ensuring no potential voters are overlooked. For instance, reaching a suburban mom in Pennsylvania might require advertising on the non-endemic news sites she frequents, which may not typically be associated with political messaging.

Contextual targeting enhances the impact of political campaigns.

The complex landscape underscores the potential of contextual advertising, where a message’s relevance to a consumer’s current consumption drives performance. This approach moves beyond demographic targeting to consider the context in which ads are seen, enhancing their impact and recall. 

When advertisers focus on the context of an ad placement, campaigns can engage voters more organically, aligning political messages with content that voters are already consuming. This can also be done without relying on identifiable information tied to an individual, ensuring a brand-safe environment — critical as Google’s cookie deprecation lingers on the horizon. 

As the 2024 elections approach, political campaigns must navigate logistical and technical challenges in a high-stakes environment. The rise of CTV and the strategic application of AI in advertising will be critical considerations for those creating campaigns aiming to connect effectively with an increasingly fragmented electorate. 

In an election where the stakes feel impossibly high, the ability to merge technology with traditional campaign tactics will likely determine voter reach and impact. Embracing the power of contextual targeting will be essential for any political campaign planning to engage voters as the news unfolds in real time across this crowded and noisy digital landscape.

Sponsored by Seedtag

More from Digiday

The era of the in-depth brand and gaming creator partnership has arrived

To reach gamers outside of video games, brands have moved beyond one-off activations based on specific intellectual properties toward more fully integrated programs that span across all aspects of a creator’s community and fandom.

Companies seem determined to make everything a retail media network. How did we get here?

Brands are leveraging retail media to push the boundaries of where and how we can shop. How did we get here?

Sifting through ‘the noise’: AI tools for HR are evolving fast – here’s how to catch up

Like with all emerging tech, sorting the useful from the useless, is critical and time-consuming.