WASHINGTON, D.C.-Challenged by reach, scale and bidding against brand advertisers for impressions, political campaigns are hamstrung in their desire to do audience-guaranteed buys. But that is bound to change by the next presidential election cycle, according to Jason Tollestrup, Director of Programmatic Advertising & Business Intelligence at The Washington Post.
“I think that in 2020 we’ll see a completely different strategy around buying where they’ll shift maybe direct buys to be kind of like a programmatic direct buy,” Tollestrup said in an interview earlier this month at the Beet.TV politics and advertising summit. “Being able to guarantee the audiences to the particular campaigns will be really interesting to see in 2020.”
Asked what defines a successful private marketplace strategy for publishers, Tollestrup cited good communications with buyers and ease of use with regard to their datasets.
As regards pricing, “Usually we like to do floor price PMP as opposed to fixed price, especially in the political space,” said Tollestrup. This enables campaigns to bid up and win more impressions to react to competitive messaging challenges as they arise.
Header bidding has been a major improvement for the Post because selling inventory “is no longer a race to the bottom.” In fact, the publisher has seen prices “that are higher than sometimes our standard rate card, which is great to see because then we can have informed conversations with our direct sales team,” Tollestrup said.
Like other publishers, the Post is championing a “light and fast initiative” with agencies to help their ads load faster.
“It’s an education type thing,” Tollestrup said. “We’re working with agencies to show them how heavy or light an ad is. The slower ads are actually dragging down the overall viewability of the site.”