4 Effective Advertising Sources For Politicians

Politicians vying for public offices want to reach as much of the voting public as possible. Most times, they want this to happen in record time as election cycles wait for no one. This has created a whole new advertising niche known as political advertising. This also means they need to specifically look for advertising sources for politicians. Running political ads has changed in a meaningful way since the early days. Those times when politicians go around pressing the flesh of voters. This still happens but there are now more effective ways of reaching the voting public.

The media for deployment has also evolved quite a bit. TV, radio, billboards and more recently, online advertising has been making a lot of impact. TV is the most popular of the lot, even though digital advertising is gaining ground. This advertising niche has grown in recent years and is thus worthy of consideration. It was estimated that about $9.8 billion dollars was spent on political advertising during the 2016 elections in the United States. This is a marked increase from the $3 billion dollars that was reportedly spent during the 2012 election cycle.

Another emerging sector is rideshare advertising. This is a perfect way for politicians to serve targeted ads to the voting public. On the whole, this is an advertising sector that has a lot of potential. It can be rewarding for all the parties involved.

Evolution Of Political Advertising

Before television became mainstream, politicians had their work cut out for them. If they wanted to reach their voters in any meaningful way, they had to travel around. It required meeting and talking to voters face to face. They could do this by holding town hall debates and other engagements. With the advent of TV, political advertising got a power-up. Politicians could create one single ad that could reach millions in one fell swoop.

Eisenhower Answers America campaign was the first time a politician used the power of TV advertising to their advantage. Eisenhower opened the advertising floodgate for politicians in America. After, presidential hopefuls made good use of TV and radio for their campaigns. Most notable was the Kennedy ads during the 1960 presidential campaign.

Of course, political ads have also rubbed the voting public the wrong way. But then, even the ads that people generally claim to not have liked have also been effective. In more recent times, the scope of political advertising has widened. Politicians are now exploring more modern channels, on top of traditional billboard and tv ads. This includes Social media, online advertising, and cable TV talk shows.

It is now a free for all buffet out there as far as political advertising goes. Public opinion is the altar on which political ambitions are saved or crucified. This is exactly what advertising aims to change or at least influence in some way. Politicians have used different forms of media to influence public opinion. Some are more effective than others.

How do politicians run their advertising campaigns? What effective political advertising channels are available?

Effective Political Advertising

It is one thing to have a robust advertising plan for your political campaign. It is quite another thing for that campaign to be effective. There are some true and tested concepts and ideas that will give your advertising campaign an extra boost. Here they are:

Emotional Ads

For political advertising to be effective, there has to be some emotional component to it. It should tug at some emotion in the voters. Ads that show happy citizens, waving flags and set to an uplifting song bring a feeling of pride to your voters.

You do not want grainy black and white visuals set to sad songs. That will be what your voters associate your campaign with. If your ad is emotional, it invokes feelings in you voters. Feelings last longer, they will internalize it and it will stay with them. If you have a straight to the point and factual ad that is lacking in emotions. It contends with other factual information that they are in constant contact with. It is a coin toss which one they remember eventually.

Negative Advertising This sounds counter-intuitive but it works. A lot of times, politicians create ads that they know will generate controversy. Negative ads often provide food for thought for the targeted voter. They are usually complicated and difficult to understand and offer complicated comparisons. The average voter goes through the extra effort to understand these ads. This makes them that much more memorable.


Timing is important in political advertising, like it is in other advertising campaigns. Berkowitz is a political media consultant. He states that ads that air in the early morning and late-night news tend to reach more educated voters. Voters that will be interested in the content. Ads running during morning talk shows, are usually heard by a conservative audience.

As for negative ads, it is believed that when they are spaced out over a period of time, they tend to be more effective. They should not be seen too many times or they’ll lose their potency or ability to spur a reaction from the voters.

Targeted Advertising

The majority of election budgets go toward TV and digital advertising. Even so, there is a sizeable part dedicated to targeted advertising. This is one-on-one targeted advertising using postcards, flyers, and letters.

This gives a personal touch to the whole advertising process. A lot of people still appreciate this. Older people tend to connect more with the information they can read and feel. Furthermore, direct mail advertising can be a great way to target voters by ZIP codes. The content sent to them can be exactly what will appeal to them.

4  Advertising Sources For Politicians

Allocating resources during a political campaign is important and should be done properly. The advertising budget usually takes a big chunk of any political campaign budget. This is because politicians are aware of the role a good advertising campaign plays in their bid for office. It must be done right, and the right media must be used to pass the message across. Below are different forms of media political advertising campaigns can use to reach voters.

TV and Radio Advertising

TV and Radio Advertising have been the most effective form to reach a wide demographic of voters. It is great for passing along general messages about a party or their agenda. Politicians are beginning to wake up to the edge that digital advertising gives them. But, traditional TV commercials and radio ads still take up the majority of political advertising budgets.

One of the strengths of TV advertisement is its ability to connect with voters on an emotional level. A politician can send a strong message through this media. People are moved by what they see. If what they see is something that connects with them, they tend to remember it. As TV advertising is evolving, it has also started acquiring some targeting abilities. This is one of the major advantages that digital advertising has over its more traditional counterpart.

TV can now enjoy the use of data, the kind that works so well in digital advertising. Multichannel Video Programming Distributors can make use of this data to target the right TV audience. This is a big deal as traditional TV ads have been restricted to age-based or gender-based targeting in the past. This shift has led to a proportionate change in the buying patterns for political ads. Where there were only a few major networks for airing political ads, now there are quite a lot of them.

Beyond the use of data to target TV ads, there is another factor that is improving the appeal of traditional TV advertising for politicians. This is digitally driven TV platforms, a good example of which is set-top-box video on demand. This is the point where digital meets Television and it has provided a much-needed boost to TV advertising. TV advertising is a sector that is slow to change. Even so, it has benefited from the fast-paced, result-oriented environment of political cycles.

Digital Advertising

This is the new kid on the block. Online advertising is the perfect accompaniment to TV advertising. Digital ads get to reach the voters that don’t watch television. Surveys have shown that about a third of respondents don’t watch live TV. About four fifths say they watch something else other than live TV. This group of people that do not watch TV need to be reached and converted.

Another major leg up that digital advertising has is the ability to create ads that can engage the voter. They can be instantly actionable. This creates a whole new memorable experience for the audience. For example, the voters could be asked to click a button to go to the website of the candidate. They could also be asked to sign up to receive emails or some other form of information.

It is quite easy to measure the performance of a digital campaign compared to a television campaign. You will be able to view the various metrics and how your campaign has fared. The number of people reached, engaged, converted and so on.

Digital advertising is looking really good for any political campaign already, right? There is one card that has not been revealed yet about digital advertising. That is the ability to target your voters. This above all is why digital advertising is being mentioned more often in strategy rooms of political campaigns. You can make your ads speak to a specific type of person or several of them at once.

Targeting digital ads is based on 4 parameters:

Geographic targeting.

Interest-based targeting.

Demographic targeting.

Behavioral targeting.

Geographic targeting involves serving ads to people in a particular state, area, or zip code. Interest targeting is showing your ads on pages that could be of interest to your target audience. Demographic targeting is a little bit more thorough. You can create ads that speak to specific groups of people. For instance, Postgraduate males between the ages of 30 and 40 who follow football. It can be as specific as you want. Parscale was Trump’s Digital Advertising Director and is now his Digital Director for the 2020 re-election campaign. He said that he ran 50,000 to 60,000 different Facebook ads each day. They were all targeted at different segments of voters. Parscale had also been fond of pointing out that it was his Facebook advertising that won Trump his election.

Depending on the objectives of your campaign. You could combine any of these three in any number of ways to give the best results. Behavioral targeting is a bit outside the scope of the other three. With behavioral targeting, you target your audience based on their past habits or actions. A very good example of this is retargeting. Retargeting is showing your ads to people who have at one point or another visited your website in the past. Email retargeting works in about the same way. This targets people that have opened your emails in the past.

These digital advertising tools are already in use by the big players in politics. The Obama campaign used retargeting well in 2012. Romney was also known to have employed retargeting as a part of his digital strategy. Retargeting helps you to always keep your campaign and candidate on the mind of your voters. Most people are not always thinking about or following your campaign, even if they’re involved in some way. Retargeting keeps reminding them and it could also spur engagement. Like donating or volunteering, they could even tell others about you.


This is also known as Out Of Home (OOH) advertising. This has played a major role over the years in getting political candidates elected. For local, state, and even national elections, billboards have proven to be cheap and effective advertising tools.

The billboard could be a static one with a message printed on a huge canvas or a more versatile digital billboard. Messages on billboards are concise, straight to the point and memorable. The digital format gives a lot more options on how the ads can be displayed. It is a known fact that political campaigns are limited by time, most run for only a few months. This is what makes billboards attractive to campaign managers. They are easy to set up and can be deployed in a manner of hours. They are a great way to reach your voting audience quickly and effectively. They can also be useful in driving traffic for your digital and Television advertising efforts.

Rideshare Advertising

This is a new method of advertising. It has not gained much acceptance yet in the political landscape, but it can be very effective if done right. It leverages rideshare companies, the most popular being Uber and Lyft. These companies have contact with millions of Americans every day through their cars. This is a major advertising resource. Especially for politicians that want to target specific individuals living in specific areas.

Riders can see ad materials during Uber rides for instance. There are screens in the car that run adverts in several engaging formats. This is the highest form of targeting as the ads can be customized to the highest level. For instance, if an Uber ride is passing through a street in New York. The ad that is playing on the screen can give specific information about the campaign based on that area. It could give directions to the campaign office that is a few blocks down that street. It could even provide volunteer information. That is how targeted rideshare ads can be. These types of ads are also more memorable, even more than online ads that one could get distracted from. With rideshare advertising, you are sure your target audience will engage with your ad.

There are several advertising companies that offer rideshare advertising services. One of the best at the moment is Backseat Advertising. You can create specific ad campaigns. They could be centered around the lifestyle of your voting audience. It can be based on where they go and the places they frequent. This is all information that can be used to bring that personal touch to your political ads. This is what backseat advertising offers you. You can place your political agenda, manifesto, anything you want right in front of your voters. There are no distractions. It’s only your potential voter and your ad at the back of a quiet car rolling down the neighborhood.


Political advertising is an integral part of any political campaign. It has become even more important now. Having a good advertising campaign could be the difference between losing and winning an election. The election window is usually short. So, there is no luxury of time when running political advertising campaigns. It has to be precise, concise and super-targeted to produce results. One advertising source for politicians is Backseat Advertising. They can use this to leverage the rideshare industry.

Table of Contents

With Scrollable Navigation

Chapter 1 – 4 Effective Advertising Sources For Politicians

Chapter 2 – Evolution Of Political Advertising

Chapter 3 – Effective Political Advertising

Chapter 4 – 4  Advertising Sources For Politicians

Chapter 5 – Conclusion

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