Rocket Fuel and The Data Trust Partner to Improve GOP Ad Targeting

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Not so long ago, political marketers just blasted target voters with TV ads and online ads designed exclusively for desktop, and that was that. But now marketers have opportunities to reach specific users throughout their day, across a number of different devices. In 2014, the average U.S household had 5.7 connected devices including desktop computers, laptops, and smartphones. Each serves a unique purpose and, as such, marketers are learning to treat them as unique entities as they deliver ads.

In an effort to improve the ad targeting efforts of Republican campaigns, ad tech company Rocket Fuel announced today that it has partnered with The Data Trust, a right-of-center voter file and data management company. With the partnership, GOP campaign marketers working with Rocket Fuel can tap into The Data Trust’s voter data to execute digital, programmatic campaigns on Rocket Fuel’s platform.

In particular, political marketers will be able to leverage Rocket Fuel’s Moment Scoring technology, which the company describes as “a real-time calculation of each ad opportunity based on the likelihood that a consumer will engage in a desired action across channels, devices, and objectives.”

In other words, by using Rocket Fuel, The Data Trust can learn at what time of day and on what device it is best to target a consumer with an ad, so political marketers can reach voters when they are at their most receptive.

“Using historical data, Moment Scoring goes beyond a single layer of data to understand when is the best time to engage with the consumer [or voter], and on what device,” J.C Medici, Rocket Fuel’s national director of politics and advocacy told Street Fight.

For instance, if a voter is likely to watch YouTube on their tablet in the evening after work, The Data Trust can learn this via Rocket Fuel’s technology, and use that information for its retargeting purpose. Rather than shooting an ad at the user on her or his desktop, they’ll save their money there and may instead use those funds to shoot a pre-roll ad at them while they’re chilling with their tablet later that evening.

“Right now, in the middle of the day, may not be the best time to serve you an ad but maybe 7 a.m. will be,” said Medici.  The idea is to target with purpose and knowledge, quite unlike what Medici is seeing in much of today’s advertising landscape.

“I give the example of an office chair you put in your checkout box [while browsing online] and it just follows you everywhere [online] for 6 months,” says Medici. “It’s not effective or engaging. The worst thing you can do as political campaign is follow [targeted voters] everywhere online and not having meaningful interactions with them.

Medici sees the same problem happening in the political realm.

“Let’s say you have an audience of 300,000 Republicans that you’ve identified in one state,” said Medici. “What happens in that capacity is that any time one of them comes online they get served an ad which is ineffective. Whatever the objective of the ad campaign is [it needs] the right time and the right screen.”

While the main purpose of this partnership is to target voters on the right device at the right time, location does play a crucial role.

“Location means everything,” said Medici. “You may be served different ads at your workplace than when you’re at home, or you may not even be served ads at all at your workplace.”

Nicole Spector is a Street Fight contributor.