Political advertising is in full swing with the 2022 midterm elections upon us and accelerating quickly. A recent analysis found that spending surpasses the last two election cycles, including the last presidential election. In the next few months, before election day, we expect to see more and more political advertising on all media, including out of home channels.
As spending continues to increase, what role does Out of Home have for candidates running for local, state, and national office? How can you leverage OOH to complement a larger political marketing plan through targeting the right demographics (including underserved communities) while building on channels like social media, digital, and TV ads?
Target the Right Voter Demographic
In political elections, demographics play a pivotal role. Simply trying to broadly target urban, suburban, and rural markets without further segmentation abilities is no longer enough. Today, micro-targeted political advertising seeks to build unique messaging for the exact voters most likely to respond to them.
Despite popular misconceptions, out of home media can play a significant role in building messaging and campaigns towards the right demographics, based on which placements they’re most likely to consume. OOH is hyperlocal, allowing for strategies that appeal to voters on a personal level.
Take geofencing as an example. This technology leverages location-specific device data to know when audience members see a specific ad. That doesn’t just improve messaging but can also lead to more relevant reporting and attribution, building more specific audience profiles that can further refine the campaign.
For example, a geofenced out of home ad may show only to users who have already engaged with your content on your app, based on the data on their device. That ad view is then tracked, allowing the campaign to understand better where their campaign resonates and what spots drive the most potential benefit.
Complement Digital and TV Strategies
Don’t think of out of home media as an isolated strategy. It’s at its strongest when it integrates directly with other media to amplify the overarching message.
The process is simple: a QR code on OOH ads allows the audience to dig deeper, allowing the message on the physical media to stay general while the digital complement goes more in-depth. Meanwhile, research by the Out of Home Advertising Association of America consistently finds that combining OOH with digital and TV strategies reduces costs and increases ROI for all channels involved.
Of course, out of home ads can stand on their own as part of a larger strategy. For example, your campaign may find that a portion of voters is difficult to reach using TV and digital strategies. However, this demographic still spends time outside their home, and building the appropriate strategy allows the campaign to gain hard-to-reach incremental points that might otherwise be missed.
OOH, then, becomes part of an innovative integrated campaign strategy. It enables the campaign to connect with all potential voters, using every possible channel to capture every possible vote beyond existing digital channels.
Reach Underserved Communities of Potential Voters
Almost every congressional district or local municipality includes at least one area that tends to be challenging to reach. Without the right strategy, potential voters in this area tend to be underrepresented by the electorate. On the other hand, candidates who can reach these underserved communities can make small but crucial incremental gains that can ultimately make a difference in potentially winning the race.
The power of OOH is evident not just in previous political campaigns but also in other industries. Consider, for example, how healthcare companies have used OOH to promote health screening in underserved communities, leveraging tactics like billboards, bus wraps, and bus kiosk posters.
Not nearly every voter will regularly walk past Time Square or drive on the next major highway. Focusing on the right strategies for these types of potential voters can be crucial, reaching areas other candidates don’t think to enter because digital and TV don’t make an impact.
As a result, the candidate who chooses political advertising with OOH in underserved communities has a potentially significant advantage that is unlikely in most other channels. They can own the market’s out of home mindshare, creating a top-of-mind strategy that keeps the candidate’s name in people’s minds as the election nears.
Expand Your Strategy Beyond Billboards
For many advertisers and political strategies, out of home is synonymous with billboards. While billboards are an undoubtedly important strategy for any extensive OOH campaign, they’re far from the only option. This medium has far more opportunities to explore beyond the tried-and-true method.
Perhaps the most famous recent example of leveraging the true power of out of home media in political advertising is Barack Obama. In 2008, Obama partnered with EMC Outdoor to push voters to the polls in 13 swing states in the last few weeks before the election. This last-minute campaign used mobile billboard vehicles to reach 28 individual cities, delivering timely, relevant messaging that ultimately helped him win 12 out of the 13 states in which they stopped.
This particular strategy used media visible during the day and night, continually adjusting and fine-tuning messaging to maximize its impact. Of course, it’s just one of the many options available to political advertisers regarding OOH.
The more you understand voter demographics and behaviors, the better an OOH strategist can help you find the proper format to complement your campaign communication. A close understanding of voter lifestyles can create a better opportunity to engage with them on their terms, whether living, working, or playing, ignoring the digital and TV ads they regularly see.
Build a Better Political Ad Campaign Using Out of Home
OOH can complement more typical ad channels, expanding far beyond billboards in getting your core message across. An intimate understanding of your audience and their preferences allows you to target the correct demographic and even reach underserved communities that might not respond well to the usual channels. In short, the proper implementation of OOH media can go a long way toward helping your political advertising become successful in voter outreach and turnout.
Are you ready to plan your next political out of home campaign? Allow our team of expert strategists, marketers, and planners to help you accomplish your political goals.
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