Politicians Turn to OTT Video Ads to Get Their Messages Out

As the 2018 midterm elections get closer, ad-supported OTT services find they’re suddenly popular with politicians. According to ZypMedia, a platform for local market advertising, OTT campaigns have doubled in the last year. Pols see OTT as the best way to reach a difficult demographic.

Politicians “Most new and young voters don’t have a cable subscription. To reach these voters OTT is the best strategy,” says Aman Sareen, CEO of ZypMedia. “Sight, sound, and motion: The best way to impact someone’s decision can only be achieved by two mechanisms—linear TV and OTT. We recommend that all political advertisers add 10 to 20 percent of their marketing budget that is focused on linear TV to OTT.”

Budgets have shifted greatly this year, and ZypMedia says political ads are a big reason why. From April to December 2017, 38 percent of digital marketing ads went to display, 25 percent to video, and 37 percent to OTT. But from January to July 2018, display dropped to 24 percent, video dropped to 15 percent, and OTT nearly doubled to 61 percent.

The company points out that premium OTT buys are a safer alternative for politicians who don’t want to worry about appearing next to brand-unsafe content or fake news. Most OTT publishers allow political advertising, Sareen says, although some will require pre-approval. News services are the most popular options for political campaigns.

How effective these OTT buys are remains to be seen. But with the election less than two weeks away we’ll have an idea soon.

“OTT is new to the political arena. It’s probably the first time this advertising technology is going to be used at scale to influence the election,” Sareen says. “As we gather data and try to make the connection of dollars spent on OTT and correlate it to wins and losses in the field, it will become clear what advantages (or disadvantages) OTT has for political advertisers.”


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