Programmatic Advertising – The tech-driven way to win those votes

Programmatic Advertising political campaign

Ashish Shah, Founder & CEO, Vertoz shares insights on how can Programmatic Advertising be used effectively in running a winning political campaign.  

India is a large, diverse, fluid, and dynamic society. The Indian electorate is a mixed bag of voters belonging to different age brackets and they are a part of different groups with respect to their minorities, and casts. They also have varied religious preferences, belief systems and political affinities. Moreover, there is also a huge economic gap, and the Urban-Rural divide.

What would you do if you were faced with the task of wooing such a diverse, fragmented and a large voter base of 813.25 million Indians to vote in your favor?

You would need a strong strategy backed with solid data.

Well, the good news is that despite having such huge differences, the Indian electorate also has a few similar habits. With India going digital, Indians are leaving behind a large digital footprint. Around 500 million Indians are accessing the internet currently. Further, India’s smartphone penetration is constantly on the rise. It is expected to be around 39% in 2019, as per Statista. Factors like affordable handset prices and low-cost internet availability are fueling this growth. As a result, Indians are spending more and more time on digital media. Neilsen says, Indians spent more than 50% of their total time on smartphones in activities like browsing, video streaming, social networking, chatting, and photo apps. According to Statista, India bags the top rank with 300 million Facebook users. Around 200 million Indians use WhatsApp.

Today, voters are present on multiple digital screens like mobiles, laptops, tablets and internet connected TVs. Thus, it is imperative for the parties to have an omnichannel digital presence. As the digital platforms are a common thread between the diverse sections in the Indian voter base, it is vital to reach out to them on these platforms. Digital platforms facilitate reaching out to a varied voter base, and partiescan win their hearts by addressing the different issues faced by each section. Owing to precise and granular targeting, it is very easy to reach a specific section, going as niche as targeting a pin-code. This enables parties to deliver highly relevant messages to the voters from that region.  

Thus, digital advertising and leveraging the power of data will play a major role in the upcoming elections.

The perfect amalgamation of the two is programmatic advertising. With its unique targeting capabilities, parties will be able to target the voters on criteria like party affiliation, political ideals, gender, age, location, financial status, ownership, business, education and so on. This helps the politicians to reach the voters, to convey their message.

Data is an integral part of the programmatic advertising functionality. By crafting a data-driven strategy with programmatic advertising, parties can build effective campaigns that involve developing a deep understanding of the people’s problems, frustrations and pain points. They can thus address the right problems through their messages and connect with the voters at a better level.

Data Management Platforms (DMPs) play an instrumental role in this through their advanced data crunching techniques.

DMPs help in analyzing and processing the voter data and providing relevant voter segments for the parties to reach out.

Based on voters’ political affiliations, they can be categorized into three different segments – Undecided, Supporters and Dissenters.

Undecided voters are the ones who do not have any strong affinity towards a party yet. This segment associates more weightage to tangible policies and their impact on everyday life, as opposed to the value systems. These can be influenced positively and won over.

The “Supporters” include those whosevalue system aligns with the party’s. These may be casual supporters, strong evangelists or those in a strong opposition to the victory of the other party.

Dissenters”, on the other hand, are the ones who strongly oppose the party and its value system. These are the tough nuts to crack, but once they align with a party, they can turn into staunch supporters, and even successfully play the role of party evangelists.

Similarly, based on the demographics like income and age, the electorate can be divided into segments like Young Aspirers, Low Income Strivers, and Rural Indians.

Young Aspirers are the ones who have a radically different mindset from the older generations and are reshaping &driving the digital ecosystem in India.

Low Income Strivers is a segment of upwardly mobile Indians who want to rise above their circumstances and see the internet as a tool to do so.

Rural Indians include the ones who follow their unsatiating urban dreams, are the mainstream adopters of goods and services, aspiring to earn a better and more comfortable life for themselves and their families. Programmatic advertising can help to uncover these key insights about the voter segments and allow parties to target them accordingly.

What’s more?

Programmatic advertising reduces the number of wasted ad impressions, which in turn brings down the inefficiencies and bloated campaign budgets.

These resources can then be better utilized for high-quality ad placements. Analyzing the granular reports provide insights on further optimizing the campaign to deliver an even better performance.

One of the most popular targeting techniques – location-based targeting or Geo-targeting can be employed to reach out to the voters of a constituency with communication that is highly relevant to that constituency. This may involve understanding and addressing the specific problems they face. Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) can be used to deliver extremely personalized messages dynamically curated for each voter, as per his/her run-time preferences. Further, cross-device targeting can help politicians to reach the voters on multiple devices. This helps in delivering consistent communication across all their devices.


However, the parties need to be cautious of brand safety issues, transparency problems and ad fraud problems. If not taken care off, these can leech off the campaign dollars causing huge losses to the party. In order to steer clear of these problems, parties must ensure that they partner with the right programmatic platform – the one which has brand-safety mechanisms, ad fraud detection and prevention mechanisms and provides a good level of transparency.