Targeted political ads

As you will have noticed, internet advertisers are bombarding you with ads tailored just for you, based on your browsing history and the volumes of data that the marketers have put together about you.  That technology is finding its way to television.  Watch for its use in political advertising.  In his last election, Chris Christie’s campaign bought ads on Friday Night Wrestling after they found that its viewers don’t vote much, but could probably be persuaded to vote for Christie.  And if you have satellite TV, you may be getting ads that your neighbor watching the same program isn’t getting.

From Political Ads Take Targeting to the Next Level – WSJ:

Politicians are moving away from blanket TV advertising, now that they know you better and where to find you.

When New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie wanted to reach Hispanic voters during his re-election campaign last year, a team of outside data crunchers discovered that viewers of “Dama y Obrero,” a Spanish-language telenovella about a woman torn between two men, would likely be more receptive to his message than people who watch “Porque el Amor Manda,” a romantic comedy.

That discovery came from marrying private consumer research with detailed voter information and big batches of ratings data, all compiled by the political consulting firm Deep Root Analytics.

The new technology borrows heavily from traditional targeting methods that use information about where a person lives, how they have voted and what products they buy to predict future political behavior, and combines that research with richer-than-ever data about what shows people watch and when they watch them.

The result, writ large, is revolutionizing the billion-dollar business of political advertising, with implications for those who buy and sell it.

Such specifics about people and how to reach them can help campaigns determine where to find groups of pivotal voters, both large and small, and target them at the lowest possible price.

Targeted ads also can be considerably more specific than going after fans of a certain show. DirecTV Group Inc. DTV +0.34% and Dish Network Corp. DISH -1.37% , the country’s two biggest satellite-TV providers, offer direct access to chosen households. That means one person might see a campaign ad during a certain show but his next-door neighbor won’t, even if he is watching the same show.

“Instead of sending a letter to a post box, we’re sending a 30-second spot to a TV set,” said Warren Schlichting, senior vice president of Dish media sales.

[Keep reading. . . .]

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.


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