WASHINGTON, D.C.-To get a sense of how the marriage of comScore and Rentrak has impacted political advertising, consider that in the 2012 election cycle six percent of the households the Obama campaign was targeting were exposed to 60 ads each week. But the campaign’s “average” exposure was 12 ads weekly.
“Average is a great number if you have no other number, but it’s a really scary number,” said Carol Davidsen, comScore’s VP of Political Technology, who who was the Director of Integration & Media Analytics at Obama for America from 2011 to 2012.
The reason for the undesired frequency disparity was that comScore did not have household-level targeting data, which it gained via its merger with Rentrak this year, Davidsen explained in an interview earlier this month at the Beet.TV summit on politics and advertising.
“What you can do with the data now is look at your campaigns and evaluate them and truly understand more than average. You really need this granular level of data in each market to truly build an effective ad campaign,” Davidsen said.
Another side benefit of the merger is the combination of household data with rate information “to actually compile a campaign together and try to reach your true frequency distribution goals,” said Davidsen.
The addition of self-serve tools to the comScore portfolio has helped to reduce campaign staff head counts. “In 2012 we were getting data, but you needed a bunch of engineers to ingest that data, match it to other sources of data and this is a lot of work,” Davidsen observed.
Now, with the push of a button, more campaigns can leverage a variety of data sources “and not just people who have an entire engineering team behind them.”
Compared to brand marketers, in some ways political advertisers can be “ahead of the curve” when it comes to sophisticated audience targeting, according to Davidsen.
“Because of the deadline of an election day, you get people willing to try something new or something bolder than has been done in the past,” said Davidsen.