'Reluctant Republicans' Targeted With New Voter Models and Addressable TV

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Fueled by new voter segments from Deep Root Analytics, DirecTV and Dish are offering to reach voters who may not be gung-ho about theirs presidential nominee but are key to down-ballot wins.
Fueled by new voter segments from Deep Root Analytics, DirecTV and Dish are offering to reach voters who may not be gung-ho about theirs presidential nominee but are key to down-ballot wins. Credit: Advertising Age
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This spring Republican data firm Deep Root Analytics invested a six-figure sum to update its data models to reflect the atypical attitudes and leanings of 2016 voters. With about seven weeks until election day, campaigns can now target TV ads at the voter segments that resulted, groups with names like "Reluctant Republicans" and "Disaffected Democrats."

The groups are available to political advertisers through D2 Media Sales, a venture of DirecTV and Dish that offers addressable TV commercials to nearly 22 million satellite households. The Republican data provider i360 has also matched its voter file segments to D2's addressable audiences.

The work was done partly to help political marketers with clients running for offices other than president.

"The usual models don't apply this year," Deep Root Analytics CEO Brent McGoldrick told Ad Age in May. "Down-ballot campaigns have to potentially target voters who might pull the lever for the other party at the top of the ticket."

The data analytics company developed 26 voter groups that have been matched to D2's TV customer database, allowing advertisers to aim TV ads directly to those households. In addition to Reluctant Republicans and Disaffected Democrats -- voters who may not be gung-ho about their party's presidential nominee but will be instrumental to down-ballot wins -- Deep Root's targetable voter groups include "Blue Collar," "Hispanic Persuasion," "2nd Amendment Voters," and "Health Care Voters," among others.

The audience segments can be purchased by clients of Deep Root or advertisers approved by the firm, which serves right-leaning clients. The company worked for Jeb Bush's presidential campaign and currently works with Ohio Senator Rob Portman and Congressional Leadership Fund among other clients. The ads targeted through D2 appear during commercial breaks no matter the program being viewed or time of day, both in live or playback modes, according to D2.

Organizations on the right have been concerned about the effect that Donald Trump might have on voter perception and turnout when it comes to congressional and down-ballot GOP candidates, prompting Deep Root Analytics to make more significant adjustments to its voter data models than in a usual cycle. Earlier this year, the company conducted around 7,400 interviews with registered voters across the nation via landlines and mobile phones to determine their likelihood to support Democratic congressional candidates versus Ms. Clinton, the likelihood they'd vote for GOP congressional candidates versus Mr. Trump, and their stances on issues such as trade and foreign policy.

Those results were integrated into the firm's voter file data to build models of crossover voters, segment the electorate on a broader basis and prioritize coalitions of voters that will be important in certain races.

During the 2014 midterm election, D2 partnered with Democratic data companies Clarity Campaign Labs and TargetSmart Communications to offer addressable ad targeting to voters in the Democratic National Committee voter file database.