Election Day is just a day away, and that means that if you happen to live in an area where there’s a contentious Senate race going on — as many of us do — you’re being overwhelmed by attack ads on TV. Even if you’re not watching TV, you might find yourself targeted online, as more and more political advertising is making its way to online video sites. That includes YouTube, which has seen the number of political ads it hosts explode over the last several months.
Since much of the available broadcast inventory has been sold out for weeks, campaigns have begun looking at other ways to reach likely voters, especially young voters. Enter YouTube. The site’s massive audience and lock on the youth demographic, coupled with targeting technology that allows candidates to reach only certain areas or to place ads against only certain types of videos, has made it an attractive place for political campaigns to run their ads.
YouTube has long been a popular place for candidates to host their political ads, but the site’s Video Targeting Tool now enables campaigns to specify a target location, demographic and audience interests for in-stream ad placement. By doing so, candidates can reach only the most relevant viewers for their campaigns.
According to a YouTube spokesperson, that has led to the number of in-stream political ads that run against its videos quadrupling since July and doubling in the last month alone. Campaigns in just about every battleground state are investing in YouTube in-stream ads, she said. In other words, the race for potential voters is finally becoming just as competitive online as it has been offline.
(For more information about what’s new at YouTube, come see YouTube director of product management Hunter Walk at NewTeeVee Live on Nov. 10 in San Francisco.)
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