This election year, $1.1B of an expected total of $11.4B political ad spending will go to digital, according to a recent Borrell Associates estimate. But how is that money being used online?

One advertising technology firm buying ads for campaigns says a new flavour of programmatic is rising – and not all ads have to be political in nature.

“In political campaigns, every different (audience) data package cost money, layering and targeting can increase the price,” according to Intermarkets ad ops VP Stephanie Snow. “But, with the use of header bidding, it is easier to make sure that the programmatic gets equal priority to other types of campaigns.”

In so-called “header bidding“, publishers offer inventory to multiple ad exchanges before alerting their ad servers, intending to garner multiple bids on the same inventory and, so, make higher prices.

Reston, Virginia-based Intermarkets has a business helping campaigns advertise to target audiences, including through The Drudge Report, and Snow says programmatic ad-tech makes their messages more timely.

“If we went back to hand-sold RFP/IO, the buyers in the political world don’t have that benefit of waiting for a response and going through approval processes,” she says. “They need to get it out, they need to test it, they need to know their message is going to be relevant and when it starts delivering. It’s been really beneficial for political campaigns.

“In political campaigns, every different data package cost money, layering and targeting can increase the price. If you need to target a very small pool of people, maybe congressional districts, and layer on targeting on top of that, it does make sense to start paying more. You want to make sure that bid’s going to win when you find that person.”

This video is part of a series about the state of programmatic advertising sponsored by OpenX. Please find other videos from the series here.