Versioning for Voters

04 November 2014 | Blog

Ballots for political advertisingIt’s election day! For the last few months, TV inventory holders have had a torrent of political ads flowing through their systems. In the last several cycles, the business has been changing, though. The rise of Big Data and targeted TV advertising has led to political consultants amassing as much data as possible and targeting their ads as carefully as they can to sway voters with the most relevant messaging. But this is leading to new headaches.

The New York Times covered some of the issues that arise.

Modern political campaigns home in on their key voters with drone-like precision, down to the smallest niche — like Prius-driving single women in Northern Virginia who care about energy issues. They compile hundreds of pieces of data on individuals, from party registration to pet ownership to favorite TV shows. And they can reach people throughFacebook, Pandora, Twitter, YouTube or cable television.

The only problem: They do not have enough messages for them all.

The Big Data era of politics has left some campaigns drowning in their own sophisticated advances. They simply cannot produce enough new, effective messages to keep up with the surgical targeting that the data and analytics now allow.

“Our ability to target has far outstripped our ability to create,” said Alex Lundry, co-founder of Deep Root Analytics, a Republican media analytics firm. “We do have too many options and not enough time, and I do think it’s a problem.”

It’s not enough to just target audiences; political advertisers need the ability to target the ads themselves, too. And when a task becomes inhuman, it’s time for the machines to step in. One solution is automated creative customization. By creating simple templates that can be automatically customized, political media agencies gain the ability to turn out multiple versions of ads that are targeted to match all of the options without taking the additional time.

Targeted TV advertising is already revolutionizing how political ads are planned and bought. But without automated versioning, the full potential still has yet to be realized.