The year of the political cookie?

The year of the political cookie?

2012 might just be the year of the political cookie, Democratic strategist Taryn Rosenkranz predicted at C&E’s annual Art of Political Campaigning seminar on Tuesday. 

"I think this really is the year of the cookie for campaigning," said Rosenkranz, founder of New Blue Interactive and senior adviser to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.   

Cookie-based targeting—combining voter file data with the cookie pool of an ad network to more precisely target voters with online ads—was a hot topic at this spring’s CampaignTech conference and is a part of the conversation again this week at AOPC.

Rosenkranz told attendees that she’s advising campaigns to develop a separate cookie strategy to aid in voter persuasion, in addition to using other digital advertising methods to bolster GOTV efforts and establish a digital donor profile.   

With online media now addressable to individual voter profiles, cookie-based targeting is something many digital experts predict will rise in prominence this election year. 

"The first watershed change since the last presidential cycle is that we do not have a shared experience online," said Rich Masterson, cofounder of the online advertising firm CampaignGrid. "If you're going online and surfing sports, news and weather; and your neighbor is surfing sports, news, and weather, even if you're using the same search terms, you're not likely getting the same ads.”

Another trend panelists highlighted this cycle is the growth of online video ads. With premium TV ad inventory likely to be hard to come by in some battleground states as November nears, much of the overflow will go online. Those online video ads can also reach voters missed by TV spots thanks to ad-skipping or use of sites like Hulu to watch programming.

Though cookies aren't enabled on mobile devices, smartphones are the next big market. Masterson said CampaignGrid is close to rolling out a new partnership with a mobile provider, allowing them to do a direct match with their subscriber list.  

"Obviously, mobile ads are the next place that makes sense," said Rosenkranz.

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