How Does Identity Resolution Enable CTV Voter Ad Targeting?

Introduction

So you’ve heard the buzzwords: “identity resolution”, “cross-device/identity graph”, “OTT/CTV activation”, now what… How can you make sense of what these concepts mean for targeting key voter segments and winning elections for your candidates? Each year, the share of political advertising being spent on CTV/OTT continues to skyrocket as more people shift away from traditional cable and satellite packages and move toward television content delivered over the internet. OTT stands for over-the-top, by the way, and simply indicates that the content is delivered through the internet. You can’t afford to be left behind.

In this post, we’ll define the buzzwords in plain english, contrast audience-based and contextual targeting tactics, and provide a few best practices for getting involved with CTV advertising in the political vertical.

What is Identity Resolution?

Identity resolution—taking facts that you know about your audience, like name, address, and phone number, and cross-referencing that with data the same audience has provided to another party. The goal is to transform your data into a set of online IDs that can be bid on in real time for ads.

Your data quality and volume are key, but the identity resolution provider also needs channels to collect high-value online IDs, so all solutions are not alike. We should note that PII (personally identifiable information) should be hashed (one-way encryption) before being stored or matched. Most providers will only work with data this way. In that case, the provider itself should not be able to recognize personal identities. Although it’s related, this post will not cover audience segmentation and targeted messaging.

Why is Identity Resolution Important for CTV Advertising?

Simply put, identity resolution is ultimately necessary to activate any voter file for digital ad targeting, including CTV. It wouldn’t be practical (or safe) to allow the ad sellers to know the PII of the person they are serving the ad to. Generally speaking, voter data providers don’t have access to a dataset that includes online identifiers used for RTB (real-time bidding).

What you’ll usually see is a multitude of offline identifiers, some personal (name) and some categorical (district). In the past, the personal offline identifier of “address” could be activated directly for marketing by sending mailers. Now, we need a layer of translation to get from the offline identifiers to the online identifiers.

When it comes to the details of the CTV bidstream, that’s worth another blog post . But, basically, there are a multitude of different players in the space from publishers to SSPs to ad exchanges to DSPs to agency Trading Desks to advertisers themselves. Executing a transaction with a uniform online identity is a tricky business, but we’re here to help share that burden. In fact, we make it so smooth, you wouldn’t even know it’s happening except for this blog post!

You already know how important the digital mediums (especially CTV) are to getting the message out to your target voters; identity resolution is simply the only way to do it.

3 Tips and Reminders for Identity Resolution

  • The targeting data is only as good as the input data: Clean and format your data well before onboarding to maximize the total addressable audience.
  • The early bird gets the worm: The entire process of onboarding and activating data can take up to 10 days. Don’t miss out on valuable impressions during your flight because you didn’t onboard your data soon enough.
  • Microtargeting restrictions: Most AdTech providers have a dedicated minimum audience size for political ads. Though we at Campaign Ad-Cloud® disagree with the reasoning provided by some of the other players, we have to go along to get along. Accordingly, try to maximize the size of your target audience – our current minimum audience size for political ads is 5,000 people. If that’s larger than your target, schedule a demo below and one of our experts will work with you to shape the most effective targeting strategy possible given the current targeting restrictions in the AdTech landscape.

Closing

We know that’s a lot of info. Our main purpose is to help you understand one of the main parts of the modern AdTech infrastructure that enables CTV ad targeting from a voter file. Identity resolution is how we get from offline identifiers to online identifiers that we can bid on programmatically on your behalf.

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