El Toro’s Guide to Targeted Political Advertising in 2024

Happy 2024 everyone! We at El Toro hope you had a fantastic start to the new year! Now that it is 2024, it's time to talk about one of our favorite things at El Toro: politics. Now don’t freak out–we’re not discussing actual politics (that would be a disaster). Today we are talking about targeted political advertising and the importance of knowing your constituents. 

In the political world, it is a long-standing trope that the person who spends the most money typically wins. Between 2000 and 2016, 90% of House campaigns and 86% of Senate campaigns proved this to be true. A lot of this data is based on TV ad spending, consistently the most expensive type of ad campaign. But do candidates really know what results they are getting? Are they taking into account the granularity, accuracy, and financial efficiency of targeted political advertising? Or is it just becoming an advertising arms race where candidates throw as much money as possible without regard to its efficacy? With AdImpact reporting that presidential campaign ads will top $2.7 billion in spending this year, we suspect it’s too much of the latter. 

It is in this way, we’d argue, that El Toro has targeted political advertising solutions for all political candidates, big budget or not. We will go into more detail on these solutions at the end, but first, we need to cover the best ways to reach your constituents to maximize the impact of your political message and the impact of your ad dollars using targeted political advertising.

One quick note before we dive in, for all three generations discussed below, all of the following applies to both liberals and conservatives unless stated otherwise.

targeting political advertising blog

Engaging Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) make up the 3rd highest percentage of the U.S. population at 20.58%. Reaching Boomers is very important as their generation has the highest overall spending power and economic influence. 

According to our research, Boomers are less likely to have a bachelor’s degree than their Millennial or Gen Z counterparts. Boomers typically value family and community more than other generations and over 60% of Boomers identify themselves as religious in some way. Roughly 50% of Boomers get their news from an online source daily and 25% get their news from the internet just a few times per week. 

El Toro has two recommendations for reaching Baby Boomers with targeted political advertising this election year: connected TV (CTV) and El Toro’s Venue Replay. Over the last 2 years, the number of Baby Boomers watching CTV in some form has increased from 58% to 62%, so reaching them while they watch TV is still critical. For ad placement, liberal Boomers typically watch more documentaries and historical shows, while conservatives watch more sports and entertainment.

For Venue Replay, it is important to focus on travel and vacations. With many Boomers approaching retirement age and having the highest purchasing power, we recommend targeting Boomers at tourist destinations while on trips. Inside the United States, liberal Boomers' top visited cities were New York City, Seattle, and Denver. At the same time, conservative Boomers visited St. Louis, Kansas City, and Oklahoma City.

Engaging Millennials

Millennials (born 1981-1996) make up the highest percentage of the U.S. population at 21.67%. Millennials have the 3rd highest spending power accounting for over $320 billion annually.

Millennials are more socially progressive than Boomers and many Millennials support environmental causes. Millennials are less religious than Boomers, are less likely to have children, and are more likely to have attended college.

Millennials spend around 25 hours a week online with 60% getting their political news from Facebook. CTV ads influence roughly 30% of Millennials.

CTV is once again very important for reaching Millennials, with around 83% of them watching weekly. Like other adults, Millennials gather much of their election information from digital media. It’s important to engage with them while they are a captive audience on CTV platforms.

The more important thing to consider when using targeted political advertising on millennials is that they are the least likely generation to go out and vote. This is especially true among liberal Millennials. So exploring unique creative types that are more persuasive and using political advertising on social media might resonate with millennials more. 

There is also value in running more positive campaign ads. Brett Gordon, a marketing professor at Northwestern University, said, “Positive ads have a much larger and significant turnout stimulation effect.” His research concluded that “If a candidate increased their positive advertising by 1 percent, voter turnout rose by 0.03 percent. If they increased negative ads by the same amount, voter turnout dropped, but only by 0.007 percent.”

Engaging Gen Z

Generation Z (born 1997-2012) makes up the 2nd highest percentage of the U.S. population at 20.88%. It is important to note that since Gen Z ended in 2012, many Gen Zers are not of voting age. In the upcoming election, 40.8 million Gen Zers (roughly 66%) will be of voting age, an increase of 8.3 million from midterm elections in 2022.

Some important things to know about Gen Z; they are substantially more diverse than previous generations. In fact, nearly half of Gen Z’s newly eligible voters are of color, with the Southern and Western regions of the country most likely to feel that impact.

Around 60% of Gen Z in the college age range (17-24) is enrolled in college. 70% of Gen Z believe the environment is a top priority and want a more activist government. Most critically, less than half of Gen Z is sure they will vote.

Nearly half of Gen Z say they are online constantly. 60% of Gen Z gets its election information from Facebook and 75% of Gen Z reported that they subscribed to a streaming service.

To best reach Gen Z with targeted political advertising, El Toro recommends utilizing positive advertising, which has the most impact on increasing voter turnout. CTV advertising will once again prove useful for Gen Z, with much of Gen Z utilizing streaming services. Gen Z prefers less serious content compared with their older counterparts, and mostly stream comedy shows, Sci-Fi, and sports. While advertising on sports can be expensive, check out our blog on how to reach sports fans on supporting media.

With its focus on education, a great way to engage with Gen Z is through utilizing Venue Replay from El Toro on college campuses. Gen Z also likes to attend live events like concerts, music festivals, and sporting events. Utilizing Venue Replay and targeted political advertising on social at these locations is another great way to reach Gen Z.

Using Targeted Political Advertising to Your Advantage

targeting political advertising blog

El Toro provides targeted political advertising strategies for effective election campaign ads across generations. For Baby Boomers, focus on Connected TV (CTV) and Venue Replay at tourist destinations. Millennials benefit from positive campaign ads, particularly on CTV during their extensive online activity. Generation Z responds well to positive advertising and CTV on streaming platforms, with Venue Replay tailored for college campuses and live events. El Toro's insights ensure your campaign messages resonate, maximizing impact and engagement across diverse age groups.

For All Campaigns, Big or Small

For those candidates with big budgets, utilizing the efficiency of IP Targeting will stretch your dollar even further. This allows you to reap the benefits of hyper-granular targeted political advertising on a large scale. Don’t believe us? Worry not, your investment is backed by our political guarantee.

For candidates with smaller budgets, efficiency and maximizing ROAS are paramount. El Toro is proven to increase voter turnout. One public affairs organization utilized IP Targeting to run a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign focused on specific geographic areas to increase voter turnout. El Toro identified over 130,000 IP-matched voter homes that met the client’s targeting criteria. El Toro served banner and video advertisements across all devices within the homes. The result? 67.3% of targeted voters showed up to vote, compared with 59.5% of non-targeted voters. The organization saw a 19.5% increase in actual voter turnout. If you are looking to take advantage of targeted political advertising and IP Targeting for political contact us today to run with the bull.


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