Intermarkets takes a non-partisan route to serve increasingly competitive online voter targeting market.
Partnering with voter data firms has become a trend among digital ad companies hoping to tap the political market. Intermarkets thinks partnering with a veteran in the sector - Aristotle - is the right way to go, and now it's tacked on a relationship with digital ad data management firm Lotame to put Aristotle's data to work for political clients.
"We're in the process of building out our cookie pool and migrating the [Aristotle] data," said Mike Loy, chief managing officer at Intermarkets, a digital ad firm and ad sales rep for web publishers like Drudge Report. Part of that process involves segmenting online audiences into groups political advertisers want to target. The Aristotle relationship is exclusive, and it's the first time the political data giant has partnered to enable online ad targeting, said Loy.
The robust national voter data provided by Aristotle gives Intermarkets the ability to target digital ads including display and pre-roll video based on party affiliation and degree of voter activity in addition to information Aristotle appends to voter filer data such as demographic info on gender and household income levels, and psychographic information. The partnership just got underway about a month ago.
"It's an important relationship because the campaigns right at this moment - many, many advocacy groups seeking to influence the outcome, and Senate races and the House races, and even lower than that - are looking for ways to target voters online," said John Aristotle Phillips, CEO of Aristotle, which was founded in 1983.
Now, Lotame - a firm that works closely with Mitt Romney's digital consulting firm Targeted Victory - is on board with Intermarkets. Lotame is partnering with Intermarkets to put the Aristotle data to work, building out larger audiences to target by finding people who fulfill similar criteria to the original audience pool. When targeted groups of Democrats or Republicans click on ads or convert by providing contact information or donating money, Lotame can help Intermarkets create new audience groups by determining common characteristics.
For instance, said Mike Snow, chief business development officer at Intermarkets, Lotame might look at a pool of Democrats who clicked on a fundraising ad and determine that many of them are also pet owners or middle-aged women. It can expand audience segments or create new ones based on these insights. Intermarkets has been working with Lotame for about a month.
Most campaigns today are using Intermarkets to reach voters in their party with fundraising messages, said Snow. However, some are starting to ask about how they can target independents and swing voters, he said.
Intermarkets sold media to the Obama for America campaign in 2008, according to Loy, and the company said it is doing business with the President's reelection campaign this time around. It's also worked with Romney's digital ad firm, Targeted Victory and the Romney campaign, said Loy.
Lotame has been a longtime Targeted Victory partner. The Republican digital consulting firm stores all of its data with Lotame. Leading into the 2010 race, the companies partnered to develop a platform for targeting video ads for voter persuasion and mobilization.
While other digital ad targeting firms with voter data partners have taken the partisan route, Aristotle and Intermarkets remain non-partisan.
On the left, Intermarkets is now competing with DSPolitical, an ad targeting firm serving Democrats and progressive groups that partners with Democratic voter data firm Catalist. Precision is another online voter targeting firm that partners with the other big-name Democratic voter data and technology provider, NGP Van. On the right, the Intermarkets-Aristotle offering will take on CampaignGrid, which serves Republicans. Like Google and Facebook, Intermarkets has salespeople dedicated to serving either Republican or Democratic clients.
"It's a competitive market, and the politics has gotten more competitive," said Phillips. "It would be natural, you'd assume the competition and the people providing tools to these hyper competitive campaigns would also be competitive themselves."
Aristotle has survived for decades as a non-partisan political data supplier, but in the increasingly cutthroat world of politics it remains to be seen whether online political ad buyers would rather work with data supplied by the people on their side of the aisle.
"A lot of people are newcomers to this," said Peter Pasi, EVP at Republican digital firm Emotive. "There are questions about where [voter data firms] acquired the data and how reliable it is."
To Phillips, quality outweighs partisanship. "If you're partisan you then make a decision as to who is bluer than blue in a primary, and do you withhold support from the candidate if the candidate doesn't agree with the company on an issue? We don't impose a litmus test," he said.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
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