Most Read: Business

 Last Update: : AM 04/19/2015(NASDAQ&DJIA)

World Markets from      


Other Market Data from      


Key Rates from      


Blog Contributors

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

Brian Fung

Brian Fung

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on electronic privacy, national security, digital politics and the Internet that binds it all together. He was previously the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic. His writing has also appeared in Foreign Policy, Talking Points Memo, the American Prospect and Nonprofit Quarterly. Follow Brian on Google+ .

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

Post Tech
About / Where's Post I.T.?   |    Twitter  |   On Facebook  |  RSS RSS Feed  |  E-Mail Cecilia
Posted at 11:51 AM ET, 02/26/2013

Microtargeting has growing influence in political campaigns, says Interactive Advertising Bureau

Data played a big role in last year’s presidential campaign, whether it was used to evaluate how likely a person was to vote for a particular candidate based on his or her Facebook profile, or to project which states would go for which candidate.

But there was almost no component of a campaign that was as affected by changing tech as political advertising. Microtargeting — or narrowly focused online advertising — is a growing component of political campaigns, according to a white paper published Tuesday from the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The IAB estimates that microtargeted ads accounted for between $130 million and $200 million in ad spending during the 2012 presidential election.

The findings also back up what’s become a familiar post-election narrative: that President Obama’s campaign was better at using and deploying high-tech tactics than the campaign of GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

For example, the paper notes, the Obama campaign had rubrics measuring both how likely someone was to vote for Obama, but also how likely they were to vote at all. Using algorithms like this, and consistently updating them, made it possible for the campaign to efficiently leverage their data to motivate people to vote, donate to the campaign or even volunteer.

Web video also was a valuable tool for campaigns to get their messages out to people who don’t watch television, the IAB said. One advertiser, Michael Beach of Targeted Victory, told the IAB that increasing the number of ads you show on TV simply means you show the same people more of the same ads. On the Web, you reach people who rarely or never watch traditional television.

Both parties, the paper said, used microtargeting more than ever during the 2012 campaign, and that it helped the campaigns find and excite voters who would have been ignored or inefficiently targeted using older methods. That data and the ability to analyze it, the paper said, sometimes gave the campaigns a crucial edge in a particularly district or on a particular issue.

By  |  11:51 AM ET, 02/26/2013

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company