politics & political advertising

What do Consumers Really Think?

Accurately measuring consumers’ beliefs and attitudes is more complex and difficult than we assume, according to several new books on misinformation and beliefs.   Read more »

Values & Viewing

We know that political views impact choices for news sources – such as a viewer’s preferred news network – but little is known about the relevance of political views, values and attitudes for viewing entertainment programs.

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Attitudes Towards Inclusivity in Advertising: A Twelve Country Study

Steven MillmanGlobal Head of Research & Data Science, Dynata

Steven Millman of Dynata shared key findings from Dynata’s global research on attitudes towards inclusivity in advertising and why that matters. The online survey was conducted across 12 countries (U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, China, Japan, Australia and Brazil) with a representative sample of 18+ adults and a total of 12,043 respondents. The survey examined attitudes and feelings of various minority groups (including LGBTQIA+, women, seniors, people with disabilities). Race was only considered for the U.S. sample, as race couldn’t be asked in certain countries or it was challenging to get sufficient diverse samples by race in non-U.S. countries. Overall, the study found that members of minority groups generally feel somewhat less authentically represented in advertising than do others. With the exception of racial minorities in the U.S., marginalized groups also tend to feel less satisfied by their portrayals in advertising. The presentation also delved into cross-country trends and differences, as well as a deeper dive into the impact of political affiliations and gender on attitudes and purchase intent in the U.S. along issues of inclusivity and diversity. Key takeaways:
  • Across countries, members of minority groups generally feel somewhat less authentically represented in advertising than do others. However, most people do not across the board.
  • Marginalized groups, especially LGBTQ+, are also less likely to be satisfied by their portrayals in advertising. The only exception was underrepresented racial group in the U.S.
  • In general, people think inclusivity in advertising is important, especially among younger groups. However, the exception was seniors, who only ranked portrayals of people over 65 as highly important.
  • Portrayals of equal representation of women and men and people with disabilities ranked the highest in importance across different age demos.
  • Portrayals of the LGBTQIA+ community ranked the lowest in term of importance across all age groups, and the portrayal of LGBTQIA+ was important to less than half of non-LGBTQIA+ respondents.
  • The majority felt that we are going in the right direction in terms of whether things are getting better or worse with respect to inclusivity in advertising. This satisfaction was overall lower in the U.S., similarly between racial and non-racial minorities.
  • In the U.S., Democratic men were much more likely than Republican or Independent men to say that they would be more likely to purchase from inclusive advertisers. There were similar differences among women along party lines, but the gaps were much closer.
  • Among countries, Brazil reported the importance of the portrayals of marginalized groups as the highest.

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How We Watch: Examining the Shifting Trends in TV Habits

Mike BrooksGlobal Head of Business Development and Partnerships, LG Ad Solutions

Mike Brooks of LG Ad Solutions described the current rebalancing among CTV users leaving subscription services to embrace ad supported streaming platforms. The trend continues at a brisk pace which spells good news for advertisers. CTV offers many opportunities and as ad supported grows, more viewers suddenly become reachable. People take a significant amount of time to select what they want to watch on CTV, LG’s survey found, and are equally driven to content from their TV’s home screen as from the home screen of their favorite streaming app. This creates an opportunity to help people find content. Most viewers are also doing something on their personal device while watching, which offers shoppable TV opportunities as well as the ability to connect one’s digital and TV brands in dynamic ways. Key takeaways:
  • LG found that 93% of respondents interact with a CTV, and 80% are using some form of ad supported TV. Of them, two-thirds (63%) prefer the ad supported to the subscription model.
  • Subscription cycling is the norm with 59% of respondents saying that they are willing to cancel a subscription-based platform after finishing the content that got them to sign up.
  • The shift from SVOD to AVOD is predicted to continue: 29% of respondents are expected to remove a subscription CTV service from their household within the next 12 months, while 29% will add a free, ad supported CTV service in that same timeframe.
  • A lot of time is being spent on selecting what to watch, five minutes 42 seconds on average, their survey found, between when the screen is turned on and when a piece of content is selected.
  • People discover content equally between the home screen (40%) and the homepage of a specific app (40%).
  • LG also found that 96% are media multi-tasking while they watch TV, usually with a mobile device or laptop. Of these, 48% are engaging with social media, 46% are gaming and 42% are shopping.
  • Shoppable TV is the future: 53% of respondents said they wished all TV ads had a quick option to buy the product, 51% said they wished they could shop using their CTV and 63% said they wished they could see their local store’s inventory on their TV. Twenty-nine percent had even purchased something through their TV before.
  • Of likely voters, 65% prefer streaming to linear TV, and 82% of those streaming with ads are open to political ads outside of political content.

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DEI Backlash?

  • Summary by Agustina Perez Blua (Google)
  • Cultural Effectiveness Council

On October 18, the Cultural Effectiveness Council examined how the diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) environment may have changed after a period of reinvigorated commitment in the wake of widespread protests following the George Floyd case. Experts discussed the current state of DE&I in media, marketing, and advertising and how to navigate it, as well as examples of inclusive advertising that have both boosted brand sales and experienced backlash.

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Improving Viewership Projections: Forecasting for Data-Driven Audience Segments

Diana Saafi, Data Science Lead at Discovery, built on Cliff Young’s comments about the importance of multiple indicators for forecasting. Saafi forecasts linear television audiences in segments of interest to advertisers (beyond age-sex segments), rather than political outcomes. She and her team have found that their models have benefited from using multiple sources of data.  She recommended identifying signals that are most predictive, experimenting with different types of models (such as ARIMA models and AI models), continually refreshing the data in the models, and continually updating the models. While this process is now automated at Discovery, there are people who monitor changes in the predictions, which she referred to as “human-in-the-loop automation.”

Insights Into the Path to the 2020 Election

Robin Garfield, EVP of Research & Scheduling at CNN, discussed the unusual fervor of the American electorate over the past two years: The turnout in the 2018 mid-terms was the highest for any mid-term election since 1914, and the turnout for the 2020 race was the highest for any presidential election since 1908. Campaign spending and viewing of cable news programs soared in 2020.

In Defense of Polling

David Dutwin, SVP of Strategic Initiatives at NORC, and a past president of AAPOR and survey research expert, in an interview with ARF CEO & President Scott McDonald, Ph.D., encouraged the advertising and marketing industry to maintain their faith in survey research. Surveys for marketing and advertising do not have to contend with two problems with election forecasting based on polls:

  1. Unlike market research surveys, pre-election polls are, “measuring a population that doesn’t [yet] exist,” – the population that will vote in an election.
  2. Given that lack of trust in major media is stronger at one end of the political spectrum than the other, non-response to surveys may well be correlated with political opinions but not with the subjects of most media and advertising surveys. Non-response therefore may well be less damaging for market research surveys.