For Romney, TV Spots Become Video Fundraising Ads

Mitt Romney’s Digital Director Zac Moffatt has made a point of stressing the importance of online video advertising for political campaigns. The Romney camp has run in-stream video ads as online extensions of TV buys since the early primaries, and now is running expandable display ads featuring a lengthier version of a series of new TV spots targeting swing states.

“What would President Romney do on day 1?” asks a display ad that expands to include video of the “Day One” TV ad. The spot claims that if elected, Romney would approve the Keystone Pipeline, cut taxes, and “end Obamacare.” The campaign is reportedly running custom versions of the television ads in Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia.

The Romney camp, along with President Barack Obama’s campaign and outside groups can be expected to spend millions on digital video advertising in the coming months leading to the election. Political digital ad buyers have complained for over a year that in-stream video ad inventory is dwindling as more and more advertisers invest in it. Although it’s not clear whether the same Romney video ad is running as in-stream units also, the display buy helps illuminate what could become a headache for video ad buyers as the election nears.

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According to data provided exclusively to ClickZ Politics by video ad firm Mixpo, political advertisers will demand as much as 48 percent more in-stream video ad inventory than will actually be available in October. The dearth of video ad inventory is expected to affect several states with big statewide races, limited access to high-speed Internet, or relatively small populations. Many of those states are also important 2012 battlegrounds, where candidate campaigns and super PACs are already vying for precious video ad impressions.

In addition to helping sway voters in favor of Romney, the video ad seeks to convince viewers that they should donate to the campaign. In fact, rather than simply asking people to donate, it seems to expect that they will indeed give money, and asks donors to choose from several options ranging from $3 to $1,500. The ad links to a donation page on MittRomney.com.

The expectation that the ad viewer may be a Romney supporter suggests the ad is behaviorally targeted to people who have already visited the Romney campaign site. The ads were handled by Romney’s online ad firm Targeted Victory.

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