WASHINGTON, DC –  U.S. election campaigners have upped their spend on TV ads through over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) channels by 900% since April, according to one platform through which they are buying.

SpotX says the elections for president, House Of Representatives and Senate is a watershed for the channels.

Previous elections have been called, if crudely, “the first internet election” or “the first social media election”.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, SpotX’s Allan Welch says November 2020 is “the election of OTT and CTV”.

“A lot of political advertisers have really begin to understand the power of CTV and OTT,” Welch says. He describes five main driving factors.

1. More channels = more voters

“A lot more streaming platforms that are ad-supported have been being developed and released for consumers,” Welch says. “That’s been really helping political advertisers understand the power of where they can reach their voters again.”

2. Candidates go beyond news

“(They are) using their data and using their information to find their voters where they are,” Welch says. “It’s been traditionally news publishers, news sites, news, media or owners that they’re interested in working with because that’s really where the most interested voters will be. But (now) it could be on any publisher. Sports is very popular (for campaigns). ”

3. CTV is no longer an after-thought

SpotX’s Welch says connected TV advertising is no longer just being used by campaign advertisers when traditional TV inventory runs out, as has historically been the case. “Now it’s going to become an integral part of their actual media buy from the very beginning,” he says.

4. Switch from social

Facebook’s decision to cut off political ads a week before the election is causing some campaigns to switch to advanced TV. “Talking to our clients, we have seen some movement of budgets over to CTV and OTT,” says Welch. He thinks some of that spending is coming from many ad buyers switching video ads from social media to CTV.

5. Lockdown is boosting attention

Whilst COVID-19 is a societal health crisis that has also robbed TV networks of spend from newly-averse brands, for those which can provide effective audience targeting, the US election comes as blessed relief. Welch says the use of CTV ad targeting for the election has been bolstered by enhanced viewing thanks to stay-at-home measures. According to Nielsen, streaming grew to more than 25% of total TV minutes viewed in the second quarter of 2020 alone, compared to 19% in the fourth quarter of 2019.