WASHINGTON, D.C.-Too much TV pretty much sums up this election cycle with regard to political advertising for Susan Parker at Hearst. In the next cycle, publishers will make data for targeting voters easier to manage than it is today and cross-screen reach will be much more important.
“I think one of the takeaways for me, particularly when hearing from the buyers, is the reliance on TV still,” Parker, who is VP of Digital Revenue & Analytics at Hearst, said in an interview earlier this month at the Beet.TV politics and advertising summit. “We know it to be true,” Parker said of the reliance on television, “but it seems as though perhaps we’re not doing enough on the digital front to try to help provide some of the same benefits they get from TV from other media options.”
One of the things that non-TV media companies need to do to become more relevant to political advertisers is to make it much easier for them to use their data. “So I think it’s another really big opportunity for future election cycles,” Parker said. “I think it’s something that’s going to require some serious advance planning.”
Flexibility on the sell side is another must when servicing political campaigns, according to Parker, along with better communication about the positive attributes of private marketplaces for digital ads and open exchanges. This is not to say that publishers haven’t made big strides. Parker cites header bidding as one such advance.
“We used to not be able to transact all types of deals programmatically and now we really can,” she said. “There are no more technical limitations.”
Asked what the political advertising landscape might look like five years down the road, Parker believes that “data will be very different. It’s hard to use right now. It’s not easy to move data from one place to another.”
And, yes, she hopes TV will play less of a role in future election cycles. “I think maybe with more streaming video and more users potentially moving away from traditional TV that might open up some doors, because that’s where the audience is going,” Parker said. “Cross-device targeting right now is still not quite worked out, but it’s such an important topic to so many people.”