As technology advances, political campaigns are finding more sophisticated ways of directly targeting voters. Campaigns constantly use television spots to appeal to voters, but now they are transitioning to online video ads. However, the big question is how campaigns are able to only play ads for voters that are likely to vote for them.
The answer is microtargeting, a sophisticated way of figuring out if a person will vote for a candidate. Campaigns will usually buy files from companies that specialize in collecting data about people. Data could include voter history, stores frequently visited, magazine subscriptions, demographics, and much more. Analysts on a campaign will use this data to figure out if a voter’s values match up with those of the candidate, and if so, will send campaign material to that voter.
CampaignGrid is a company that specialized in microtargeting voters, but uses innovative online techniques to appeal to them. The company has a “VideoGrid,” which specifically targets voters through online video ads. This means while watching YouTube or other online videos, registered voters will receive ads from a candidate that they are likely to vote for.
The company has an online voter file that tracks people’s video consumption online, among other data. They use this to track not only registered voters, but also voters who view online videos frequently. Analysts also know what sites a particular voter views the most, so they can ensure that video ads will be aired on these sites to reach that voter.
While online video ads were not too popular in the 2012 election, they are likely to exponentially increase in the coming elections. Campaigns and political communicators are continuously finding new ways to target voters through various forms of media. If candidates want to win, they need to make use of every form of media currently available.