Wednesday October 5th || by John Reyes

With the political season in full swing, we checked in with several of our leading publisher partners to see how they have been impacted by political advertisers and what their plans are to leverage access to their audiences. This interview is with Sean Donlon, National Account Manager at The Blaze.

Have you already seen an increase in interest in advertising from political parties and/or from specific candidates?

S. Donlon: We haven’t yet seen a tremendous uptick, but now that the candidates are squared off, we expect to see some more activity as we get closer to the convention and the general election. Our publication is considered very right of center and conservative, and we have a number of Libertarian viewers who read the Blaze as well. I wouldn’t count out the Libertarians being a potential political force as well. We do reach Americana and people who are of a certain mindset and conservative Republicans.

I think much more was spent during primaries in the swing states and less on national publishers. Now that the candidates are laid out, they are filling up their coffers and strategizing. I anticipate some ramping up for us.

Which candidates and/or PACs have the best creative and understand the medium best?

S. Donlon: Historically, the Dems did a much better job from a social media standpoint, but that was several years back. I think the Republicans need to reach people on different platforms and now they realize it.

How are you planning to monetize the political season beyond what you would do typically?

S.Donlon: We are covering the Republican convention intensively. Our national security editor will be doing live updates from the convention in Cleveland. We will also enable sponsored content and updates from the convention.

Publishers also want to create different ad experiences for their various advertisers and the ConvertMedia (now Taboola) offering enables them to easily do this. For example to be able set ad conditions that automatically give their highest paying direct advertisers a better ad experience than their lower paying programmatic sources, thereby achieving a good balance between revenue, the interests of their advertisers and user experience.

Will outstream enable you to increase inventory and what kind of affect will it have on the political season?

S. Donlon: We would love the ability to take more of it. We are currently challenged because we already have a lot of video on the site. We are in the process of coming out with a brand new website – The Blaze 2.0. When that does launch, it will open up more outstream video inventory for us.

Are you seeing any investment or interest across alternative media channels – whether OTT, Mobile, Snapchat, Facebook, Facebook Live, etc.?

S. Donlon: Mobile is actually a significant part of our traffic, so we are seeing a big uptick in Mobile. We had anticipated a lot more this year, but so far most of the spending was done locally and it is breaking late. In addition, it has been an unusually divisive campaign this year, so many people are fractioned out across all parties – it has been very challenging – it is not what we anticipated. Video is incredibly important, so we are definitely looking forward to positive momentum.

John Reyes