Tablets and mobile sales blew past desktop and laptop sales two years ago. However, only recently has mobile broadband allowed mobile video subscription services and a la carte viewership to explode. 45 million users will watch mobile a la carte video this quarter; almost double the figure of two years ago. The challenge for CampaignGrid and DSPolitical is to ensure voter data sits on top of the billions of mobile advertising impressions.

Three exciting new venues for voter-targeted ads arrived late in the campaign cycle: Facebook Exchange, LinkedIn and AT&T mobile devices. While the technology was available in 2012, this will be the year that marketers like us will be fully able to leverage these for political and public affairs clients.

Since Facebook users tend to keep their account open constantly, an average of 15 percent of re-targeted cookies are found on the Facebook Exchange within five minutes of having been on an advertiser’s site. Approximately 60 percent show up within 60 minutes. Facebook Exchange (as opposed to traditional Facebook advertising) works for finding the right voter data segments; the challenge is creating ads that have a decent CTR.

Data-driven advertising is all about efficiency of messaging, so transaction costs are naturally vital. That’s why Real Time Bidding (RTB) has accelerated in the last few years. RTB is a transparent marketplace for buying and selling online advertising, much the same way shares of stock are traded.

By 2015, 25 percent of all online ads will be traded this way. In 2010, it was just 4 percent. In short, this lowers costs for buyers like you and sellers like us, and puts publishers’ in-house online ad sales forces out of a job. In other words, never let your children run with knives, play with fire or sell online ads for a publisher.

What really worked?

It’s still early enough in the life cycle of the digital political messaging medium for clients to rely on specific metrics for defining success and determining how to divide up a media budget. Conversion rates vary wildly from campaign to campaign.

So how much does it make sense to spend? Based on Comscore’s research in July of 2012, 52 percent of adults received an average of 61 online video ad impressions—significant reach but not as much as television quite yet.

What we also found in several case studies was that the cost-per-point increase in awareness to the target audience was about 1/6 of what it is to increase awareness via television. In English, that means it was about 85 percent cheaper to increase awareness via video ads than on TV. Still, more research is needed on this point.

One hurdle with releasing high-value benchmark data to the public is that nearly all political and public affairs groups with the funding available to study this are exactly the groups who prefer to keep the information to themselves.

Rather than begging multimillion-dollar 501c4 organizations for results they will never share, you can look at the anecdotal evidence of their own online spending patterns. There, the pattern is clear: clients typically spent between 10 and 20 percent of their overall communication budget on digital ads. They spent more in expensive media markets, or where a sophisticated targeting program was required, and less when a billboard on the state highway was all the targeting that was needed.