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Democrats Need A New Advertising Strategy For 2018

Democrats Need A New Advertising Strategy For 2018

After Tuesday’s special election results, it’s clear that the 2018 landscape for Democrats is going to be tough. Still, even during a Trump presidency, we do have some surprising opportunities to win. But that’ll require campaigns and their consultants to focus on the right things.

To succeed this cycle, candidates need to change how voters see and hear their messages. They can do that by advertising through a mixture of display, mobile, TV, print and radio at varying frequencies with unique platform-specific creative.

These may seem like obvious ideas. After all, trends show Americans spend more than 12 hours a day across multiple devices and usage of the Internet is at an all time high. But when you look at how political marketers are advertising, a lot of the budget still goes toward broadcast television.

Digital spending can also be problematic. After 2016, our firm took some time to do our own research of how money was spent on paid media using publicly available FEC data. We saw that the Republican outside groups spent a greater percentage of media budgets on persuasion digital ads than Democratic outside groups. If you work in politics, the idea of Republicans spending more than Democrats on races is neither new nor surprising. But the disparity in the percentage of media spend can be concerning.

In the case of competitive House races, the largest Republican groups, such as Congressional Leadership Fund and the American Action Network, spent more than 25 percent of their persuasion media budgets on digital, while certain Democratic groups spent 4 percent. While every race is unique and the audiences we need to engage are different, our outreach needs to be re-evaluated to keep up. Here are some ways campaigns can shift their advertising strategies going into 2018.

To read the rest of BPI Partner Tim Lim's full op-ed, click the link below.

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