Wednesday October 12th || 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 Ford Jordan, CFO and COO at Liftable Media.

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

F. Jordan: Yes and no. We have had a couple of direct deals with some PACS. Overall, I would say CPMs from January and February have gone up more than they have the last two years.

I also feel that conservative politicians are a little more old school, but Trump is better than others when it comes to digital. Some of the more traditional candidates were putting most of their dollars to radio and TV (perhaps leading to their failings). I think political advertisers are slower to learn than regular advertisers. For example, by comparison – I have a friend who owns a couple of radio stations in NH and on average earned $1.9M for a year. Just for the NH primary, he brought in $2.5M over a two month period!

Which candidates and/or PACs have the best creative and understand the medium best vs. just cramming traditional political ads wherever possible?

F. Jordan: I think that Obama, to his credit, was savvy with social media. Trump and Bernie are/were also pretty good. I think that’s why Trump won. I also think that is why Bernie stuck around for as long as he did. He was able to use social media, twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to reach the people.

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

F. Jordan: We do have very much the geo-targeting, audiences, that advertisers are seeking. We are trying to do a lot of native/sponsored content and looking with candidates or PACs on how they can educate audiences, so they can be associated with different content pieces. Usually a lot of that can be done at a fraction of a price of a TV commercial.

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

F. Jordan: Outstream is still very new and I don’t know if the advertisers fully understand it yet. When I look at video ads, it is kind of like what happened with desktop to mobile – people would just use desktop landing pages and ram them into mobile. When I see people putting 300×250 TV commercials in video – I am not convinced that is going to be effective. Just because it works in an NBA playoff game, it won’t necessarily work in the middle of content. It does give more inventory options, but video advertisers have not developed video and mobile web ads. They are more likely converting their TV commercials from cable and ramming it down the website’s throat. For us, in evaluating ConvertMedia (now Taboola) Video, the technology is great – you can have this crazy big unit, but it has to be part of the content to work best.

We are always thinking about where the user is coming from. For example, if they are on Facebook, there will be zero audio and auto-play in order to catch their attention in the first 2-3 seconds. Anything we do, people can scroll past it, so it needs to be engaging and needs to be a compromise- advertisers have a message they want to tell but at the end of the day you have to provide the user with entertainment value.

John Reyes