Earlier this year, Intermarkets teamed up with the data scientists at SimilarWeb to append the Drudge Report’s referral traffic, and its impact on advertising and other publishers. Conclusion: the Drudge Report is a rare, unique premium publisher driving hundreds of millions of external visits each month. (Scroll down for infographic)

The Drudge Report has a profound effect on America’s premier news outlets: it’s the top source for referral traffic to industry powerhouses like Fox News, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and Reuters among others. That alone is extraordinary. But the Drudge Report also has a disproportionate impact on entertainment outlets as well.

When we look at the advertising side, the importance of knowing your audience is paramount—and The Drudge Report’s traffic is nearly 90% direct. Premium publishers attract, and can be defined in part by, the loyalty of their audience. The Drudge Report’s two million unique daily visits and 700 million monthly visits certainly qualify.

In the Drudge Report, advertisers find content quality, powerful distribution power, and an audience they can rely on, while publishers benefit from the Drudge Report’s referral power.

Take a look at our infographic and let us know what you think about the power of the Drudge Report!

Drudge Report Infographic

Check out SimilarWeb here.

Intermarkets has been the exclusive ad representative for the Drudge Report for over 15 years, and has created a leadership position enabling Premium Programmatic Solutions for advertisers.

It’s exactly 8 days until Election Day 2014. All the fundraising is done. The battle for positioning is over for the most part. The attacks, counterattacks, and defenses have mostly been launched.

Now there’s only time left for two things: convince persuadable voters that you’re the best candidate for the job, and get your supporters to the polls.

GOTV with Intermarkets bannerGOTV

The Intermarkets portfolio is the best place to reach both of these audiences. Our exclusive publishers—like The Drudge Report, CNS News, the Media Research Center, and others—combine for over 28 million unique users every month.

These are the most active, politically astute audiences online. These are the community leaders, influencers, and activists you need on your side to win.

Our exclusive portfolio is a crucial part of winning GOTV plans, but to win, candidates need more than just their base.

View our portfolio here.

Persuadable Voters

Campaigns don’t stop with the base, and the Intermarkets portfolio has very strong reach into right-leaning, independent, and center-left voters. The Drudge Report and our other exclusive publishers, like RefDesk, The Grocery Game, and Creators.com are serious hubs for soft Democrats and independent swing voters.

Our huge audience can be targeted to millions of visitors of all political persuasions.

We are the #1 referrer to the top news and political outlets. The New York Times, The Washington Post, and nearly every other national news outlet. These are the voters you need to convince to win.

Putting Your GOTV in Context

Context is crucial. Your ads are more powerful when they compliment the news or content your audience is already reading. They can be run while voters are reading their political news or searching for info that may sway their vote between now and Election Day.

We can serve your foreign policy ad to users reading about ISIS or Putin, your jobs pitch to families worried about the economy, or your ObamaCare hit to the voters reading the latest healthcare news.

This is it. You can’t afford to leave any votes on the table.

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Richard Nixon Campaign Sign

The principles of campaigning don’t change. The means do. Adding digital to a campaign’s arsenal—or beefing up an outdated system—can make candidates more visible and more responsive to the people they want to represent.

Be More Places at the Same Time with Smart Targeting

Candidates will still need to press the flesh at the grocery store. When it comes to politics, people truly feel the need to “know” a potential representative, and consider them genuine. Digital campaigning can provide a complimentary addition to both getting to know a candidate as well as increasing “touches” with voters.

Now, to reach voters, candidates can be at several grocery stores instead of just one. In fact, candidates don’t even have to be at the grocery store. They can be at the manufacturer. Or the union hall. Or the transportation company. To put it another way, candidates can be almost anywhere voters are: online. And they need to be.

Consider that Americans spend 11 hours per day with digital media. You have a lot more time and more opportunities to reach voters digitally than you do running into the right people at the grocery store.

Think about this: in an increasingly mobile age, candidates won’t have to fly around the state, rushing through the meager 20 minutes they get at each county fair. Now they can be at every county fair, spreading the word about their agriculture policies.

Creating and deploying cost-efficient, effective digital ads is the new retail politics. Candidates can give their specific, relevant message to voters who are engaging in a digital version of the real-world, retail situation of days gone past.

That’s how you press the flesh in 2014.

The Personal Connection

Candidates can run video ads that provide the same eye-contact, sincerity, and emotional appeal of a TV ad for a fraction of the cost. Better yet—they can associate their message with content the voter is already consuming.

Of course, interaction is diminished in any virtual situation. But there’s no reason a creative campaign team can’t come up with engaging ways to educate voters about a candidate or her opponent.

A smart trigger campaign combined with a volunteer rewards system could actually increase the amount of “face-time” a voter gets with a campaign, and by proxy, the candidate. The Internet doesn’t have office hours, and it doesn’t get tired.

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Keyboard control button

Effectively Control Your Message

You already know digital ad spending will continue to grow. You know it’s important. In politics, control of your message and your image is crucial, to say the least.

In the digital space, you can tailor your communication to do both, with more control than ever before.

The advantages of digital media over traditional and mass-media are legion. Whereas most people consider TV ads intrusive breaks in their desired content, a well-placed banner ad can be a welcome source of additional information. Instead of subtracting from the consumer’s experience, well-placed digital ads can be complimentary.

The same goes for phone calls. Or that direct mail piece that gets thrown in the trash without a sideways glance. But let’s say you’re a political candidate running in Wisconsin. Digital advertising allows you to show an ad about your opposition to ObamaCare to young doctors checking out medical websites in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin. You could direct them to your policy page outlining your solutions.

Or maybe you want to remind voters that food prices are rising faster than inflation. You can put your message on mobile, and target young women trying to beat the rising cost of beef.

Efficiently Control Your Message

Let’s say your opponent drops $200,000 on a TV ad attacking you. Maybe they’re only reaching a small segment of people whose opinion can be swayed, and a large segment of people who weren’t going to be vulnerable to that message.

You don’t have to spend your own $200,000 to respond, with the same possibility that your message won’t move the needle. You can get together with your pollster and spend $5,000 reaching out to demographics you need to sway. You can respond smarter, as well as cheaper. And unlike TV, you know instantly how many people engaged with your ad, and what kind of ROI it garnered.

Winning a political campaign, especially in big races, is about bringing together a coalition of voters, influencers, and communities who may disagree with one another on big policy issues. Instead of beating everyone over the head with huge TV buys that may offend some of your supporters, target your ads online.

All the targeting advantages of traditional snail-mail campaigns are combined with near-instant, real-time efficiency online. This is a new era of messaging.

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Hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent by “outside” groups this political cycle.

When you add in candidates and committees, we’re talking billions. Learn more about how online ads surpass broadcast TV here.

And just like everything else, political campaigns are won and lost at the margins. Increasingly, those margins will come in the digital space. InTheCapital relays research showing a major increase in digital spending by candidates and other electioneers.

While TV spending will also increase, traditional viewership is down. Spending on robo-calls and direct mail is not expected to grow. That means the battleground for eyes and ears will take place somewhere else – banners, social, pre-roll, video ads, email, and other places we haven’t even thought of yet.

Digital Media is Not Mass-Media

Everyone knows Team Obama crushed digital in 2008 and 2012. Particularly their ability to get promoters to do their work for them. Think about it: instead of talking to one voter at a time over the phone, a campaign could get 10 supporters to share their ad or materials with 10 of their friends each on social media. Talk about ROI. It’s a process the libertarian group FreedomWorks calls “digital door-knocking.”

But it’s not just that, it’s the ability to micro-target. It’s the ability to get a tailored message that will move specific people on a specific issue at a specific time through a specific medium. Everything can be customized. Effectiveness can be tracked down to the penny. It’s not just more effective, it’s more accountable.

Has your opponent slammed you on TV? You can respond to their buckshot tactic with laser-focused responses in key demographics. Is your opponent already targeting you in specific subsets? Follow them and target these viewers with your defense or counter.

And don’t think the Obama campaigns were a fluke because of their youth support. 71% of online adults use Facebook. 49% of adults over 65 use social media. These numbers will continue to grow as more retailers and services expand their online reach.

Campaigns need to follow suit.

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Last week, Intermarkets’ new creative copywriter attended the Digital East conference in Tysons, Virginia. He compiled these top 5 marketing insights from the digital east conference for marketers.

Have you been using these strategies and ideas? Do you have anything to add? Let us know!

Digital East Top 5 Insights Banner

  1. Be Media Agnostic

For most marketers, the platforms you utilize to publish or advertise are means, not ends. While your tactics need to reflect each specific platform, your strategy doesn’t really change. At the end of the day, B2C marketers use platforms to drive conversions, and B2B marketers generate leads.

It’s vitally important to take advantage of the strengths and weaknesses of the platforms you are using, whether it’s Facebook, AdWords, or WordPress. But all of these platforms have one thing in common: you use them to spread your message. You need to go where your consumers are, and that means using the mediums that work for your audience, not the ones you like best.

  1. Is There a Knowledge Problem?

Marketers know they need to speak to the level of their audience, but this is easier said than done. We deal with our areas of expertise all day, every day. But do our customers? Is there a simple, yet crucial piece of information we’re leaving out, simply because to us, it’s elementary?

Take a look at your communications with your clients and leads. You may be missing just one small piece that can really improve your business.

  1. Consumers Can be Creators and Brands, Too

In the past, creators, consumers, and brands were all more or less distinct. Today, that line is blurring like never before. Social media allows consumers to become creators. Creators can become popular enough to become a recognized brand identity. Heck, people and companies can be all three.

To know your audience, it’s important to understand the different roles they play as well as how they see themselves. This also makes sense for B2B firms. After all, businesses that are customers are also creators.

  1. Don’t Talk To. Converse With.

“New” media, (read: social) allows for a two-way conversation between producers and consumers in real-time and in public. It’s both a major challenge as well as a golden opportunity to grow your business and connect with your customers in new ways.

As Robin Wheeler of Twitter pointed out, 63% of customers reported more positive attitudes towards brands that simply engaged with them on social media. Companies are just groups of people. Don’t present yourself as a faceless monolith. You understand your audience, you engage in voluntary exchanges with your customers, so talk to them! Which leads us to the final insight:

  1. H2H

You may have heard this already, but human-to-human is the new buzzword. But it’s more than just a buzzword. It’s a way of thinking about your business and your customers, and it’s the way you want your customers to think about you. It’s the basic premise that, at the end of the day, all interactions take place between individuals.

When John Doe buys a widget from the Widget Company, he’s buying a product that was designed by people, marketed by people, and sold by people. Obvious, right? But the Widget Company is after more than John’s dollars. WC, whether they want to or not, needs to please John. They need to please John to keep him as a customer, to protect their reputation, and to promote their product.

What’s more, is that the people who comprise WC want to please John. They want to because he’s a person, and they are people. They expect the same when they act as consumers. Nobody wants to deal with a brand logo.

We’ll have more on this, but the bottom line is your customers want to know there’s a person on the other end, not a robot.

In 1963, David Ogilvy wrote Confessions of an Advertising Man. No doubt you’ve heard of it. More than likely, you have a well-worn copy on your desk right now.

Ogilvy would have been the first to tell you that he wasn’t a particularly talented copywriter. His genius shone through his strategy—his strategy was to find out what worked and use it. Much of what he wrote in 1963 still applies today.

Native Ads > Banner Ads

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Credit to David Ogilvy, Ogilvy & Mather

This infographic from Sharethrough showcases the power of native ads. In fact, native ads outperform banner ads in nearly every category: 52% more views, 18% higher purchase intent, a 13% increase in word-of-mouth sharing, and so on.

Of course, David Ogilvy said the same thing in 1963: “There is no need for advertisements to look like advertisements. If you make them look like editorial pages, you will attract about 50 per cent more readers.”

Today the principle remains the same, even if the statistics have evolved.

Generally speaking, prospective consumers don’t like ads. But if you can make your ads look like editorials, you’re going to see a much higher success rate. Back in 2013, native ads led banner ads in viewer frequency, views overall, and brand favorability to name a few.

In short, native ads will get you more eyes and more conversions more often.

This Section is About Descriptive Headlines

Recently, Facebook declared war on click-bait headlines. It turns out, 80% of Facebook users want a descriptive headline. They want to know what they’re actually clicking on.

Back in 1963, Ogilvy told us a few things about headlines. First, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” According to Copyblogger, this statistic is still true. The reason for Facebook’s change is simple: click-bait headlines take readers away from substantive content. Sure, you might get a million eyes on your “Guess What Happened Next” headline, but you won’t get conversions or subscribers.

Descriptive headlines, on the other hand, tell the reader exactly what they’re in for. If you make readers guess what the ad is about, you’re wasting time and money.

Second, “Never use tricky or irrelevant headlines… People read too fast to figure out what you are trying to say.” This style works for outlets like The Onion, but most of the time it won’t work for your Senate election or your product promotion. Your headline should draw people to your content because they want to go there. This consumer intent is key to strong conversions and loyal subscribers.

 “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” — David Ogilvy

Make your headline about something. Don’t alienate or upset customers you haven’t even won over yet.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
The Ice Bucket Challenge will face its own challenges.

Is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge a monster success? Yes, and maybe. If you use the Internet, you’ve seen the Ice Bucket Challenge. Participants record themselves pouring ice water over their heads, donate to an ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) charity, and pass it on by challenging others publicly, by name.

On its face, the challenge is a huge success in terms of engagement and short-term fundraising, as Emily Alford relates over at ClickZ. In less than a month, the ALS Association increased fundraising 10-fold over last year during the same time period.

It’s not hard to understand why. The challenge is everywhere. It’s fun. It’s fresh. It’s on your social media, your email inbox, and on TV news. The amount of money donated so far is simply put, staggering.

But there could be a serious drawback to the, perhaps first (or at least biggest) decentralized viral fundraising drive. While the Ice Bucket Challenge is totally individual-driven and doesn’t require direction from some central source, it also doesn’t seem to have the attributes we normally see in campaigns with staying power.

Challenges ahead

The Ice Bucket Challenge is built around the challenge, not the problem its being used to solve. The challenge itself makes only brief, if any, reference to ALS. Participants may learn more about ALS and current research if they read up on it while donating, but where is the emotional buy-in?

Such sudden success will need aggressive, relevant remarketing campaigns for first-time donors—ones that focus donors on ALS itself. Long-term projects like scientific research require long-term, steady funds more than short mega-bursts of cash. That means a plan to retain and cultivate as many first-time donors as possible.

What it means is stewardship, and a marketing strategy to make it happen.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is brilliant. But for the sake of ALS victims, fundraising should not dry up next year. Expect to read much more about remarketing and branding strategies for ALS research when the Ice Bucket Challenge runs out of steam.

The 5 Most Tweetable Moments from CampaignTech East (#CTEast)

Last week, Team Intermarkets had the pleasure of attending CampaignTech East, an event thrown by Campaigns & Elections Magazine for political consultants, grassroots organizers, and digital marketers to share the newest and best digital tips and tricks. While we’re sure the experience differed based on your session schedule, this was our team’s cumulative takeaway—we’d love to hear yours in the comments section!

There are no shortcuts to success.

“Think of something really awesome. Test it in a small market. And then roll it out. And if you don’t want to do step one and two … find something else to do with your day.”
@bretjacobsen
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Bret Jacobsen said this in a panel called “Mobile Apps as Game Changers,” but the principle is universally true. The first step to something great is actually thinking of something great. Don’t just send out an email because an email needs to go out this week—take the time to sit down, think it through, and come up with something that your target audience actually wants to read. Next, TEST IT! Our marketing department really can’t say enough about the value of testing everything. There are some great articles out there about best practices for any marketing or advertising strategy you can think of—but truthfully, nothing beats your own data on your own audience. Test, test, test!

Great customer service never goes out of style.

“What do my clients value? Response time. Availability. Honesty. And loyalty.”
@tracyrusso
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The general session, “The Digital Consultant as Entrepreneur,” was hosted by DCI Group’s Julie Germanny, who interviewed experts in the field (over mimosas, we might add). This fun group dropped plenty of insights, but we think the focus on customer service was the thread that tied it all back together. Yes, you need to be the best at what you do. Yes, you need to be able to provide all the technological bells and whistles. But, at the end of the day, what your client needs most from you is for you to be reliable. Be their go-to person! Value quick response times and open availability. Be honest and loyal with everyone you meet along the way. At Intermarkets, we have a cultural “code” called POETIC that stands for Positive, Optimistic, Enthusiastic, Tenacious, Innovative, and Committed. Our team is great at what they do, but we believe that it’s the way we conduct business that really sets us apart.

The data doesn’t lie.

“Do audience targeting—not content judging!”
@cld276
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What a great point! This nugget came from cir.cl INC’s CEO Carol Davidsen in the session “What Your Smart TV Knows About You.” She pointed out that, often, campaigns are surprised by what TV shows are pulling their target audience. For instance, she pointed out, most campaigns aren’t going to come to a TV executive and ask to advertise during Honey Boo Boo. But the data doesn’t lie. If that’s where your swing voter is—and especially if that’s where your opponents aren’t—then that’s where you should be. Psst, by the way…the same goes for online advertising!

Target your audience AND your message.

“You can have the best targeting in the world but get minimal results if your message doesn’t resonate.”
@Joel_DC
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Good news out of this panel—”Social media targeting has come of age!” Facebook’s own Joel Cohen was joined by other digital campaign strategists, including Jenna Golden from Twitter, to talk trends in tailored audiences on social media. On Twitter, for instance, you can now bid on opponents’ keywords, target audiences (although the match rate is still low), and pin your best tweets to the top of your feed for better branding. The strategists also dropped some pointers on making the most of 140 characters (“Be specific” and “Keep it simple”). But perhaps the best creative advice came out of Joel Cohen, who pointed out that, without a sticky, targeted message, all that great targeting technology might just be for naught. Don’t forget to optimize your message!

Digital tools are just that—tools.

“Don’t put a partisan lens on it. If we’re all using digital, then we all win!”
@spedwybabs
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Indigo Strategies’ Beth Becker really brought the spirit of the conference home with this one. With campaign strategists and digital consultants from both sides of the aisle, CampaignTech East proved to be an invaluable opportunity to swap stories, learn about trending technologies, and remember that in the end, everyone’s goal is the same—a better and more connected America. The truth is, digital campaigning tools are just that—tools—and the magic is really in how you use them to take your cause to victory.

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So tell us, fellow CampaignTechers…what was YOUR most “tweetable” moment? 

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We talked last week about the first step to any voter targeting campaign—wrangling the data! Using a data management platform to match online “cookies” to real-life voters (and their voter histories) is paramount to a successful targeting campaign.

This week, we’re talking about how to target your audience once you’ve found it—and what insights there are to gain along the way.

1. Be Specific

People are sometimes creeped out surprised by how detailed targeting can be. The truth is, there are mountains of data being collected, and data mining allows us to target by a lot of different factors! Using the Electoral roll, voter ID database, and the data that websites themselves can collect, you can target by…

  • Party affiliation
  • Propensity to vote
  • Charitable or political contribution history
  • Geographic location
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Education level
  • Income

Basically—you name it, we can probably target it.

2. But not TOO specific.

Targeting is important, but so is scale! A rookie targeting mistake is to get TOO granular with your audience segmentations and end up messaging an audience of ten. Make your online advertising or email marketing campaign count! If your campaign is only targeting 35-year-old bankers who love dogs and hate grilled cheese sandwiches, you’re not going to be getting the scale your campaign needs to succeed. Especially since NO ONE hates grilled cheese sandwiches. Don’t target to an audience of zero!

3. Define your goals.

Before even embarking on a targeting campaign, be honest with yourself about what your movement is looking to gain. Are you looking to raise funds quickly? Build an opt-in email list? Motivate your supporters to go out and vote? Knowing what you want is crucial to defining your key performance indicators (KPIs), which are the best method to measure (and subsequently achieve) a high return on investment (ROI). Like they say, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. The reverse is true too—decide where you want to go, and the road to get there becomes more clear.

4. Start early!

This ClickZ article on the targeting puts it this way: “Plant your targeting garden long before you get hungry.” Like we discussed in this blog post on using DMPs, listening to your audience is an important part of any targeting strategy. We’ve often gotten halfway into a campaign only to realize that part of our target audience is clicking and converting at a much higher rate than the other half. Realizing that early on allows you to quickly optimize your campaign to target your most engaged audience. Optimization helps you save money and reach your goals faster—who doesn’t need that?

5. Invest in voter targeting.

This may seem like the “duh” part of this list—after all, you’re reading this article, aren’t you?—but it’s actually important to keep in mind that just because the cost of online advertising may be slightly higher with targeting, doesn’t mean you’re not getting your money’s worth.

Take, for example, a campaign we at Intermarkets did to target Christian youth in Arizona through online advertising. The goal of the campaign was to identify potential supporters for local candidates whose platforms were based on Christian values.

We ran two placements: one ran untargeted ads on Christian music and lifestyle websites, while the other targeted ads to identified Christians or people interested in Christian music across the web.

While the targeted placement cost per milli (CPM) was 9% more than the direct placements, the targeted ads garnered a 66% better clickthrough rate (CTR), achieving significant returns for the grassroots organization.

Have you found success with voter targeting?

We’d love to hear what your personal experience has been with targeting your online advertising in the comments section below. Or, if you’d like to get started with voter targeting, but aren’t sure which road to take, contact one of our helpful representatives, and we’d be happy to help you out.

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