Programmatic Vendors Step Up Efforts to Win Campaign Dollars


Programmatic platforms are courting campaigns’ ad dollars with new features as social media companies pull back their offerings to political marketers.

Next week, Basis Technologies will officially unveil its state legislative district geo-targeting for political advertisers. The company, previously called Centro, had offered congressional-district level targeting since 2020. Now, that data, as well as the lines for the some 6,700 state legislative districts in the United States, is being updated weekly as redistricting plays out. L2 is the company’s data partner.

“Our clients who are really most excited about this and who are really seeing the value are those independent expenditure groups that may be working in 25 or 50 or 75 state legislative districts across the state or multiple states, [and] being able to do this precisely and easily is a huge advantage for them,” said Grace Briscoe, a Basis SVP for candidates and causes.

OTT/CTV is attracting more ad dollars this cycle and buyers of that type of inventory could benefit from efficiencies created by this new targeting option, according to Briscoe, who noted that previously zip codes could be used to cobble together a buy in a state-level district.

“Some of those campaigns that are really focused on that OTT content — this will let us scale that in a very specific geography. Being able to target within district boundaries.”

Now, it’s not just the targeting restrictions that are making down-ballot campaigns second guess their relationships with platforms like Facebook. Cost is another factor. Digital consultants working with down-ballot campaigns have told C&E for months that they’ve faced higher prices than ever for the ads they’re placing on Meta’s platforms and that’s when they’re getting approvals on those spots.

By providing no-cost state-level targeting, Basis is also aiming to offer consultants an alternative for their limited-budget clients.

“As we see other platforms adding more and more restrictions or limitations on what political campaigns can do, the fact that we’re able to roll out additional targeting capabilities and new features for political advertisers is refreshing and very much appreciated by clients,” said Briscoe.

Basis isn’t the only programmatic vendor rolling out new offerings this cycle. In March, Xandr, the programmatic ad platform acquired recently by Microsoft, unveiled a new system for political vendors to access publishers’ premium inventory, including creating an auditing process that categorizes different creative.

At the time, Erik Brydges, a senior account executive for political at Xandr, told C&E: “We are here for political in 2022.”

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