8 Reasons Why Political Advertisers Should Care about Ad Verification

09/05 By Tony Marlow

Advertising in the digital age is full of opportunity – millions of potential voters spend their waking hours online, and that means massive reach. Right? But scale comes with its own pitfalls – and the digital advertising industry isn’t always the simplest to navigate for the fledgling campaign marketer. So here are the top 8 things you need to know about pushing your digital ads. 

Connected TV is here – and it could be the solution to getting young voters’ attention.

Remember when campaigns’ TV ads were the only thing voters had to go off of when they got to the polls? Times have changed – and the highly-coveted younger demographic is made up primarily of cord-cutters (and even cord-nevers). How do you get your message to every audience? 

That’s where connected TV comes in. Netflix and HBO aren’t the only contenders anymore – more and more networks are turning to ad-supported digital streaming. Running your candidate’s ad in between the Tonight Show and Late Night could be the best way to get ahead. 

Facebook, Twitter, Google – easy to reach potential voters, quick to go wrong.

Paying more than a dollar for a dollar donation? It’s more common than you might think. While the ad marketplaces for these platforms make putting your message out into the world easier than ever, the price tag might make some campaigns balk. These premium spots deserve extra attention to ensure that every click counts.

Nearly half of all digital ads aren’t even viewable.

The way we browse today looks a lot different than it did in the Internet’s infancy – we’ve got 20 tabs running and can’t figure out where the music is coming from, but we’re also not looking at the ads on every page at every moment. People are skimming content with a quick scroll down the page – and often missing the half-a-second of prime advertising. For digital ads to make an impact, they have to be seen. Not just served.

Fraudulent ad traffic might not be as controversial as a private email server… but it’s still pretty bad. 

IAS data shows that over 10% of ads are in fact affected by fraud – where advertisers are spending for views they aren’t really getting. Unprotected media spend leaves you vulnerable to losing out on thousands of potential impressions to bots and fraudsters.

And bots aren’t the only thing to worry about.

Incentivized browsing and phone farms are a bigger deal than you might think. That’s where humans are being paid to click on ads and view videos, without really paying attention to any of the content – making your dollars less effective with every click.

In the last year, IAS has found that more than six billion ads have been served to incentivized users. We compared the behavior of incentivized browsers to regular visitors of a popular news site and a subject-focused social-networking site and found that the paid users were at least 25% less likely to have at least one conversion than either the audience on the news or social media sites.

Brand safety isn’t just for brands.

You already know that the Internet is full of twists and turns – and when you’re banking on that, it’s important to protect your candidate’s brand. In a neuroscience study on the impact of ad environments, IAS found that ads running on high-quality sites (like hard news) were perceived 74% more favorably compared to the same ads seen in low-quality sites (known fake news sites). It’s not just that ads were liked less when spotted on low-quality sites — they were actively rejected.

Campaigners are at risk of their political ads appearing next to unsafe and inappropriate content, too – imagine the detriment of a candidate’s ad next to a news story about a shooting – or even pornography. The risk of losing voters is huge.

Voters don’t always know how advertising works.

Studies have found that your average consumer tends to assume ads are placed next to unsuitable content on purpose. Negative consequences for misplaced ads quickly add up – 80% of US marketers plan to reduce ad spending with partners that publish in brand-unsafe environments. Shouldn’t political campaigns take a page out of their book?

Verification matters.

Wading through the do’s and don’ts of online advertising can be as frustrating as explaining the electoral college. But what’s worse – spending years planning a campaign, only to have it derailed by inappropriate content, or taking the time to understand the digital landscape to protect your campaigns, and give them the sturdiness of a presidential combover? Make every impression count. Consider your digital ad buys and how you can protect and optimize your hard-earned campaign funds with a verification partner like IAS.