The following is an exclusive op-ed contributed to MMW by Targeted Victory Co-Founder, Michael Beach.
The amount of time between election cycles ensures that the best political campaigns from one cycle can look antiquated by the next election year. This was the case in 2014, when campaigns demanded more from digital strategists than ever before; relying on sophisticated audience-based targeting, campaigns served a medley of persuasion, fundraising, Get-Out-the-Vote and issue-specific messages to specific audiences, using language and content that resonated with them.
It meant substantially more than just reporting analytics. Campaigns and clients ask for A/B testing and optimization – for copy, design, and other variables – backed up by established metrics, coupled with aggressive real-time implementation of successful test results across every medium.
Responding to this demand took a number of shapes at Targeted Victory. It meant offering unprecedented access to targeted audience segments from the political and consumer world – leading us to build Audience Exchange, the single largest repository of audience segments in politics. This was only possible with the help of a number of partners, too many to list here.
Powering 2014 campaigns also meant investing in new tools, like the Device Graph, developed by Lotame. Once difficult, mobile device targeting became a substantially better proposition, thanks to Device Graph’s ability to map and track desktop and mobile devices alike, using cookies and behavior signals to associate users and their devices.
Naturally, the complexity of modern campaigns and integration with media partners like Lotame and Rentrak creates an overwhelming amount of data, too much to analyze without assistance. Datorama’s platform offered the ability to analyze enormous amounts of data with ease, making reporting and optimization easier and more efficient. By standardizing and automating the reporting process, Datorama freed our analysts to drill down across channels of disparate data for quick, deep, actionable insights.
On the whole, campaigns are seeing high returns on their investments in digital strategy, with the bonus of a favorable Election Night for Republicans up and down the ballot. It may be too early to begin to make predictions about 2016, but it is safe to assume that the aggressive, sophisticated evolution of digital strategy will continue. The core of it all – delivering relevant messages to target audiences, motivating them to show support or take an action – will remain. Only the methods will change.