Jun 04 2019

Political Marketers Spent 60% of Digital Ad Budgets on Programmatic Buying in 2018 U.S. Midterms

Report from Centro Showcases Digital Advertising Strategies Used by Political Marketers

Washington, DC – June 4, 2019 – Centro (centro.net), a global provider of advertising technology, announced a report revealing the significant use of programmatic advertising during the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. According to data aggregated from 300+ federal, state and local races run using Centro’s Basis platform, programmatic buying comprised 60% of political digital ad budgets. The findings also show that video advertising made up 56% of media spend from these campaigns—and, furthermore, 53% of all budgets were spent in the last five weeks leading up to Election Day. To read the full report, visit: centro.net/blog/2018-midterm-adtech-mvps.

The report reveals digital strategies used by political marketers:

  • “Hyperlocal” programmatic tactics were used by more than 55% of election-related campaigns.
  • The programmatic impression-to-spend ratio (the dollar multiple) on connected TV ads is much higher than other devices, because of premium CPMs in this format.
  • Publisher and vendor standouts for direct selling are familiar brands in social media, video and audio.
  • Last-minute spending is not only prevalent, but significant: 53% of 2018 political dollars were delivered in the last five weeks before Election Day, and 21% of ad dollars were spent in the final 10 days.

Centro aggregated digital advertising data facilitated through its Basis platform to assemble the report. Basis’ technology was used to manage ad buying for election efforts in the U.S. across display, video, native, search and social media. Among these candidates and ballot measures, 73% of them won in the general election.

“Programmatic advertising is now a core component to winning strategies in politics because it delivers what operatives in this sectors value – speed in launching campaigns, optimization on the fly, and precise audience reach wherever they consume media,” said Grace Briscoe, Vice President of Candidates and Causes, Centro. “While it’s important to employ tried and true playbooks, it’s also crucial to evaluate newer tactics that opponents and peers haven’t used as often, such as connected TV or streaming audio, that could be a difference-maker.

For more than a decade, Centro’s technology and services have been trusted by agencies and consultants in politics, public affairs, and advocacy. Throughout the years, Centro’s Candidates and Causes group has collectively worked with 700+ political campaigns and independent expenditure committees, and 800+ issue advocacy advertisers. Its proficiency for driving perception in government, in the public sphere, and among specific audiences, is a differentiated and valuable asset in this field.

About Centro

Centro (centro.net) is a provider of enterprise-class software for digital advertising organizations. Its technology platform, Basis, is the first of its kind SaaS advertising solution unifying programmatic and direct media buying, along with workflow automation, cross-channel campaign planning, universal reporting and business intelligence. It boosts media team and business performance by enabling advertisers to plan, buy and analyze real-time bidding (RTB), direct, search and social campaigns in a single platform. Headquartered in Chicago with 40 offices in North America, Centro has received numerous accolades for its commitment to employees and workplace culture.

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Anthony Loredo



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