MNI Blog  /  4 minute read

Data Privacy Updates Will Change Political Advertising

As tracking cookies come to an end, political campaigns and their advertising strategies need to find new ways to reach their targeted voters. Learn more.

The Impact of Privacy Changes on Digital TV Ads and Midterm Elections   

Many changes are coming to the world of political advertising, affecting upcoming election advertising rules as well, as more people fight for control over their personal information and demand an end to unauthorized data collecting. Changes have already started making their way into the industry, starting with Google's data privacy updates, Privacy Sandbox, and expanding into laws that authorize brands to allow visitors to 'accept' or 'decline' cookies on their website.   


According to Forbes, prioritizing consumer privacy will be a must for brands and politicians in the years to come. Their report found that 92% of Americans are concerned about their privacy when using the Internet, and almost half (46%) feel they've lost control over their data. Their research also found that 65% of American voters say data privacy is one of the most significant issues our society faces.  


These developments put the limelight on CTV ads over traditional TV ads as we enter the 2022 election year since they have more tracking and measuring capabilities outside these changes. The allocation of political ad spending is projected to change, and this is what you need to know to prepare for upcoming changes.

Privacy Changes Target Tracking Cookies    

At the beginning of 2020, Google announced its intentions to make significant data privacy updates and phase out third-party tracking cookies. "Users are demanding greater privacy — including transparency, choice, and control over how their data is used—and it's clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands,” it states in Google’s new initiative, Privacy Sandbox.  


The shift away from tracking cookies is changing political campaigns’ strategies for reaching targeted potential voters. The significance of this shift is seen in the projected allocation of political campaigns' ad spending in 2022.  


According to Axios, the 2022 midterm elections will be the first political campaign cycle where connected TV ads will be a powerful component. In 2020, political ad spending allocated 5.3 billion to broadcast, 1.6 billion to cable, 360 million to radio, and 1.7 billion to digital. However, 2022 will see a decline in those marketing channels as CTV advertising is introduced to the mix. Broadcast is expected to account for 4.6 billion, cable 1.3 billion, radio 220 million, digital 1.3 billion, and finally 1.5 billion for CTV ads.  


The truth is, political campaigns have already been slowly moving away from tracking cookies as users increasingly spend more time on mobile apps that don't share data and restrict political ads. However, this shift is now accelerated by privacy policies around tracking cookies.    


Google’s new privacy initiatives will be affecting all marketers (not just political campaigners) even before data restrictions fully go into effect in 2023. As digital marketers face the death of cookies, it will be important to remain adaptable and pivot strategies. Tracking cookies are widely used in advertising but are slowly being removed from platforms. In 2022, we will experience the removal of tracking cookies from Safari, iOS14, and Chrome, before the worldwide cookie eviction occurs in 2023.


What Will Replace Traditional Digital Ads This Upcoming Midterm Election?    

Digital TV ads (CTV) are projected to see more spending than digital voting ads displayed on desktop, mobile, and tablets based on tracking cookies in the upcoming midterm election.  This predicted change emphasizes the importance of getting acquainted with CTV as soon as possible.   

what-is-ott-advertising-politicalUnderstanding CTV Ads  

First and foremost, you must understand the difference between not only CTV and Linear TV, but over-the-top (OTT) TV vs Connected TV. To clarify, here are the definitions: 
  • CTV refers to internet-connected TVs, which refers to devices that connect viewers to streaming video content on TVs. This includes Smart TVs, gaming consoles like Xbox and PlayStation, Roku, and Amazon Fire Stick. 
  • On the other hand, OTT is the streaming video content, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, etc. Linear TV is the traditional cable TV that has dominated prior to streaming, where viewers watch scheduled programs on a certain channel.   

For advertisers in any industry, CTV provides unique opportunities that linear TV just doesn’t provide. Aside from impressive targeting, CTV advertising is more cost-effective, interactive, and measurable than traditional TV commercials.


CTV Ads Will Shine in Digital Advertising for Political Campaigns  

As the midterm election approaches, CTV voting ads are getting a lot of attention — and for a good reason. "Unlike traditional TV ads, CTV ads are highly unregulated and can be narrowly targeted by household," Axiosexplains. "[This gives] campaigns more options to target voters based on their interests, rather than just age and gender demographics."    

CTV Ads provide the ability to:   

  • Prioritize the right users and households — impact the right voters with your messaging to maximize your advertising and ensure you're not only reaching but resonating with Americans interested in your plans for the future.  
  • Track your ROI — get access to real-time tracking and measuring to inform immediate decisions, adjust when necessary, and build on successes.  
  • Create a cross-channel marketing experiencepolitical campaigns often use cross-channel marketing to expand their advertising into essential areas that connect voters. This includes writing native articles, sharing videos regarding their platforms and giving speeches, hosting Q&As on Twitter, and going live on Facebook or Instagram. 

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Traditional Solutions to Cookieless Political Campaigns   

While it might seem initially startling that we will lose our ability to use cookies in campaigns, there are alternatives we can adopt. With perhaps a little more effort, we can still target, understand, and develop connections with those who engage with our brands.   


For example, first-party data (like gathering email and phone numbers) will be imperative to marketers. More resources in a cookieless digital world include contextual targeting and universal IDs.   

Interactive collection of data such as collecting email addresses allows campaigns to target voters who have shown interest. Ensure the quality of your content is better, more meaningful, and more impactful than your competitors—
this will help in your efforts to pursue voters and keep the lines of communication open.  Partner With MNI On Digital Adverting Strategies For Your Political Campaign 

Contact our team at MNI for more insight into our political advertising services and how we can get your cookieless political campaigns up and running. 


Landau_DAbout the Author—Debbie Landau, Senior Account Executive, MNI 

I have a real interest in political & advocacy advertising.  I like the thrill of working on this type of business and crafting strategic  campaigns that will get my clients the most exposure over time and help them win!