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From the Shanes (D'Aprile & Greer) @ Campaigns & Elections

iPhone users: Did anyone not activate the new call redirect feature on the latest iOS that consigns ALL phone calls from numbers that aren’t in your address book to the black hole of voicemail? Welcome to the latest challenge for traditional polling.

It’s a little under seven weeks until CampaignTech Innovation Summit. The agenda is stacked. The attendee list is already ridiculous. And tickets are 40% less than the full price before October 24th.
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Political ads? We’re Good, Thanks.
Why Emerging Platforms Likely Won’t Fight for Your Ad Dollars 

We’ve pondered this before, but why does Facebook even bother with political advertising? The revenue realized from political advertisers is a drop in the bucket for Facebook, and that’s to say nothing of the platform’s disinformation problem. As one strategist put it to us recently, if they could go back, do you really think Facebook would open up the platform to paid political?

Against that backdrop, one of the things we’ll be diving into at next month’s CampaignTech Innovation Summit is how campaigns are engaging with emerging platforms (TikTok, Twitch, and Reddit just to name a few), and how their paid ad options are evolving, if they exist at all.    

Notably, TikTok has said it won’t accept political ads on its platform, declaring last week that "the nature of paid political ads is not something we believe fits the TikTok platform experience" and that political ads don’t support the platform’s mission "to inspire creativity and build joy." (Yeah, fair to say most political ads don’t "build joy".)

Moving forward, we’d expect new platforms to be significantly more likely to take the TikTok approach than they are to embrace political advertisers, which means digital strategists will need to focus far more on organic engagement.

As for other platforms, the Bernie Sanders campaign has experimented with Twitch. And a digital strategist recently told us about an ad pilot program on the platform focused on preventing gun violence.

As for Reddit, advertising opportunities for campaigns are evolving there as well, but as digital strategist Cheryl Hori pointed out in a piece for C&E earlier this year, the platform isn’t exactly primed for campaign ads:

"There’s no automatically placed disclaimer and no political advertising department to outreach to for assistance. And if the user experience is the Wild West of content, Reddit’s ad-buying process is similarly the Wild West of approvals."

Will these platforms expand and refine their options for political advertisers going forward or will they at some point just say no thanks to paid political ads? The latter is certainly a possibility.
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Pay the Price
Ransomware Should Scare You

Across the country, businesses, school districts, city governments and more are being brought to a standstill by ransomware, attacks in which criminals encrypt the target’s computer systems and demand money from the victims to give them back access to their systems.

The ransoms demanded? Anywhere from a couple of thousand bucks to meaty six-figure sums depending on the organization that’s been attacked.

Put another way, the criminals target organizations that a) need their computer systems to operate, b) lack sophisticated cybersecurity capabilities, c)  have the capacity to pay for access to those systems to be returned and, d) have an incentive to act quickly.

So, yeah, political campaigns and the industry that serves them have real cause for concern (from small down-ballot campaigns to those at the top of the ticket).

Some things to know:

Enemy at the gates: weak passwords are now the biggest risk to an organization, with brute force attacks accounting for 31% of ransomware attacks in the first half of 2019 according to F-Secure’s recent study.

But remember: poor password practices are just your biggest weakness. Phishing and spam attack vectors remain a big tool in the ransomware criminal’s toolkit. And of course, there’s fake software, malvertising (the hint is in the name) and more. Fun times!

Enemy within: if you outsource your IT needs to a managed service provider (MSP) you best beware, because they can make the juiciest of targets for criminals. Infect the MSP and you can infect the clients they serve. One attack, multitudes of ransoms to demand. That’s not to say you should use an MSP (many orgs absolutely should), but you 100% better vet yours.

Ask yourself: You’re in the thick of the campaign cycle. Suddenly you can’t access your systems (and all the data therein). A ransom is demanded. It’s a lot of money, but a manageable amount. And if you pay it you’ll get back your access immediately. What would you do?

Upcoming Events

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Pod Save Us All
Why You Should Consider Podcast Advertising

We’ve been bullish on podcast advertising for a while. Our view: podcasts are a great, largely untapped, opportunity for campaigns. Yes, there are limitations (geotargeting being a prime example). But there’s a lot in the ‘pro’ column too.

So we were stoked to see ACRONYM’s Brian Young break out his case for podcast advertising on Twitter. In brief:

  1. Apple dominates the podcast market. And with LiveRamp you get 1:1 voter file targeting (so you also get standard targeting like DMA and Zip).
  2. Ads are inserted dynamically when a podcast is downloaded. So no old ads in old podcasts and your current ad gets inserted even if an old episode is downloaded (Voter deep-diving the Joe Rogan archive? No problem).
  3. 32% of Americans have listened to podcasts in the last month, according to Pew.
  4. Creative is straightforward. Submit a script to Megaphone, they record it using voice actors that match the vibe of the podcast, and the cost is included in the CPM.

Yes, the CPM can seem high at circa $35. But as Brian points out, that’s still cheaper than Hulu. And yes, only targeting Apple means you’re missing out on a lot of people. But, as Brian also argues, iPhone users are higher spenders than Android users, so maybe consider donation asks (bonus for presidential campaigns: link to Amazon’s new voice donations through Alexa?).

Read Brian’s full thread here. Follow him here. And, while you’re at it, subscribe to ACRONYM’s FWIW newsletter. We love it and think you will too.

Worth Diving Into

Why Facebook Can’t Stop Politicians from Lying (The Verge)

Tiktok Explains It's Ban On Political Advertising (TechCrunch)

OTT Advertising: Why The Industry Needs More Transparency (Ad Exchanger)

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