Why Granular Voter Data Matters for Ad Buyers Street Fight

Why Granular Voter Data Matters for Ad Buyers

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Comscore, which plans, transacts, and evaluates media across platforms, is for the first time, sharing its Congressional District CTV Index data for some Congressional Districts in New York, California, Nebraska, and Alaska.  With transformative data science and vast audience insights across digital, linear TV, over-the-top (OTT) and theatrical viewership, Comscore is a third-party source for measurement of cross-platform audiences.

This first-time data analysis shows that CTV viewership in some of the most rural communities in the U.S. indexes higher than some more urban regions, which, according to David Kovach, Head of Market Innovation at Comscore, “seems counterintuitive, given the widely discussed Broadband access issues, as just one factor.” (Comscore will soon publish a collaborative paper with the American Communities Project, a non-profit, that discusses broadband connectivity and access).

In Nebraska, for example, CTV-audience viewership in its most rural 3rd Congressional District over-indexes significantly compared to the national average.

“By contrast, Nebraska’s more populated 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts both under-index as compared to the national CTV viewership average,” Kovach said, referencing the graphic below.

Any political campaign allocating their media spend and content placement without considering these over indexing rural areas and under-indexing urban centers, is likely to get their allocations wrong, he added.

Kovach sat down with StreetFight to go deeper into the findings.

Comscore Street Fight

Some rural areas are showing higher rates of CTV consumption. Is this surprising?

It was surprising to Comscore. We know that many rural areas are consuming TV via streaming services because our CTV Index is a factual reflection of what viewers are actually watching regardless of the quality of their viewing. If an advertiser wants to get messaging to them, these insights about who and where CTV over-indexes is critical.

What were some other surprises from this data?

That traditional wisdom about CTV viewership in rural parts of the country seems understated, while an overstatement may be occurring in more urban centers. While more research may yield additional insights, the data in this CTV Index offer crucial insights for anyone wanting to get their messaging to the right eyes, and their media allocation most efficiently tuned.

If I were a campaign rep and thinking through multi location marketing, how might I use this data?

Let’s say a U.S. Senate campaign in Nebraska wants to get their message across the entire state and all its Congressional Districts. In addition to the data from CTV Index, the campaign rep could then use tools like our Comscore Markets maps to determine which media markets reach these areas of the state. A large portion of media viewers in western Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District are serviced by the Denver media market:

Comscore Street Fight

This insight tells the campaign rep that allocating more budget to streaming ads in the Denver market may be the best and most cost-efficient way to reach folks in that part of the 3rd Congressional District. By contrast, because the CTV Index also tells that same Campaign rep that viewers in both the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts in the eastern part of Nebraska under-index for CTV viewership, the campaign rep’s allocations of budget for the Lincoln and Omaha media markets might lean towards linear TV to reach those viewers.

How do campaigns and agencies use this data to inform their marketing decisions?

Voters have different content consumption behaviors in each Congressional District. A campaign continuing to use national averages to predict market-level viewing behavior is not likely to get optimal ad-campaign placement or results. The Comscore Congressional District CTV Index showcases both the reach of traditional linear television and the index of persons who consume television via a connected TV device, at the local level, providing the best understanding of marketplace insights for allocating media spend.

Why was the decision made to pull Congressional District Index data for Nebraska, NY, California, and Alaska?

First, Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District was a good example of a rural area that over-indexes for CTV viewing, which we found to be a counterintuitive insight. Second, there is at least one very competitive Congressional race in the state this year (NE 2nd CD). Finally, Nebraska is one of just two states in the U.S. where Presidential Electors can be split, because they are not allocated on a winner-take-all basis – in fact, while Trump got the majority of Nebraska Electors in 2020, Biden won the Elector from NE’s 2nd CD.

NY 21st CD, California 22nd CD, and Alaska’s lone Congressional District were selected because each covers a large geographic area, with much of that land-area being sparsely populated, yet each exhibits CTV over-indexing insights, and in the case of CA’s 22nd CD there is a competitive congressional election in the 2024 cycle.

How many local markets does Comscore have CTV penetration data for?

Our Congressional District CTV Index reports on all 435 US congressional districts and can be used with other complementary tools like our State and County level Comscore Markets Maps (available here) to derive local market insights for every media market area.

Comscore Street Fight

Comscore Markets are the set of 210 zip-code based local market definitions used in linear television and digital media, ensuring precise universe estimates for standardized linear, digital, and cross-platform media.

The County-level version of our Comscore Markets Map offers detailed information, such as stations in that market, with County-Level insights into the differing ways that community segmented groups consume media at the local level. These segmented groups, or Community Types, are defined by the American Communities Project based on its research into cultural and socioeconomic data at the county level.

The state-level version of our interactive Map offers insights that allow organizations engaged in state-focused activities, like elections or ballot initiatives, to determine the best markets for placement of messaging to reach their target audiences. Sometimes the markets offering the right coverage for the best prices might actually be in adjacent states, and Comscore’s Map helps to locate them at a glance.

Ken Burrow spearheads Street Fight newsroom’s editorial operations as managing editor.
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