5 Impactful Creative Formats for Digital Political Advertising

collage of graphics related to politics to illustrate political advertising

When it comes to political digital marketing, standing out from the crowd is key. From representing party-specific platforms to performing discovery at a candidate level, the impact of your political ads on election results can be driven by impactful design, compelling copywriting, and clear calls to action (CTAs).

It’s expected that 2024 will see notable growth in digital political advertising spend. Programmatic offers digital ad formats that support the unique needs of political campaigns, including the ability to display legal information alongside core messaging. 

5 Creative Formats for Digital Political Advertising

To help you run strong digital marketing political campaigns, we’re highlighting 5 creative formats that campaigners can leverage for the best results in 2024 and beyond. 

1. Connected TV Ads

Traditional cable and satellite services are no longer the main formats in which audiences are consuming video broadcast messaging. Instead, viewers are increasingly adopting connected TV (CTV) as a way to stream their favourite content. 

Unlike traditional TV ads, CTV ads are highly targeted, enabling advertisers to speak to specific households, with more options to target voters based on their interests, rather than just age and gender demographics.

Viewers watching CTV have made the active choice to watch the programming, and don’t have the option to fast forward or skip ads. This creates an undistracted environment for getting your political messaging across to voters. 

CTV spend increased by 1,500% in the 2022 US elections, amounting to a total of $1.5 billion (half of the total digital ad spend). According to eMarketer, 69% of the US population will use a CTV device in 2024.

Video ads distributed through CTV can breathe new life into existing still images or video assets. This ad format is an opportunity to create a full sensory experience within an optimized run time for view completions. 

Video is the perfect format for telling a candidate’s story and evoking emotion in viewers. Through visuals, sound, and storytelling, this format is especially effective for creating content that resonates with voters. Political advertisers can leverage CTV to grow their audience and collect a retargeting pool based on video completions.

Not only do CTV ads offer marketers a way to reach cord-cutting households, they also offer access to highly engaged audiences. To help measure engagement, you can add QR codes to the format to encourage viewers to take action. 

2. Interactive and Display Ads

After creating an audience based on who viewed your CTV ads, you can use interactive display ads to tally their perceptions of different candidates in an election. For example, using an interactive poll enables you to sort your audiences more accurately, and then continue the conversation by delivering different messages depending on the response.

Political advertisers often need to display legal information alongside their core message. Display units like disclaimer/ISI rich media ads allow for a discreet disclaimer on hover, or an auto-scrolling ISI ensuring legal compliance without taking away from the creative’s aesthetic appeal. The disclaimer can be viewable upon load or hidden within a hover interaction. Plus, you can use motion to add life to the ad and capture attention.

Interactive ads are a great fit for mid-funnel objectives, such as building trust, candidate recognition, and user education. These ads can poll users at a campaign issue level, or a candidate level. For example, after showing a CTV video that highlights a candidate’s platform, you could poll viewers to see which topic is most important to them.

Display ads are an essential component in any political campaign because they drive performance. And, display ads enable you to learn about your voters and collect information that helps you communicate to them most effectively.

Display can be used to increase reach and performance for all your other channels. This is referred to as cross-channel lift and it’s a great way to reinforce messaging, encourage engagement, or drive action with strong CTAs.

3. Native Ads

Native ads are simple and effective creatives that match the look, form, and feel of the media format that they appear in. They seamlessly blend into the content that a user is viewing on their mobile device or desktop, which makes them a perfect format for informing your target audience, or for further engaging with your retargeted voters. 

In political campaigns, native ads can educate voters about a candidate and their platform, and can be a great tool for developing the trust of your ideal voter. The best way to approach this format is to leverage it as a form of high-quality content marketing that offers relevant information to interested voters, in a relevant context. 

The key to strong native ads for political advertising is to ensure your ads have clear messaging, engaging copy, and eye-catching images. This combination will prompt voters to click out and read educational materials that can influence the decisions they’ll make on election day. And by using earned media through native ads, you can drive users to articles on the websites that you know your audience trusts and visits often.

The results of the interactive display campaign will also provide context into top-performing domains per audience. For example, the top domain for votes on Candidate A could be one publisher, and another publisher could be the top domain for Candidate B. By utilizing earned media through native ads, you can drive users to articles on the websites you know that the audience trusts and visits frequently.

4. Video Ads

Programmatic video advertising is the perfect channel for creating an emotional connection between your campaign and your ideal voters. This medium will capture the undivided attention of voters, provide an opportunity to educate them, build brand awareness, and develop trust.

With video advertising, you can reach potential voters wherever they may be watching video content online. Audiences may see a video ad ahead of streaming a TV series, or while scrolling through a blog.

5. Programmatic Audio Ads

In recent years there’s been rapid growth in audio content that’s available for streaming. With the growing adoption of audio content, we’ve seen growth in digital audio advertising spend, too.

Audio is highly engaging. It reaches listeners right in their ears, capturing voters’ attention so you can be sure your messaging is really heard. 

With programmatic audio, you can strategically target premium digital audiences against traditional broadcast metrics, such as geography, day part or format. You can use the same audience targeting parameters from video, mobile, and cross-device campaigns, or you can leverage data from partners to target specific demographics or interests. 

Reach the Right Voters With Political Ad Formats

The best way to effectively influence or change voter behaviour is to use a multi-channel strategy. Taking a multi-channel approach to your digital political advertising ensures your messaging reaches users in all the different ways they consume media, and it gives you the ability to adapt your messaging for each stage of the funnel. 

By delivering ads across different channels and using a variety of formats, you’ll create multiple points of contact for your target audience, which means more opportunities to earn their vote. 

To get started with digital political advertising, be sure to partner up with a programmatic platform. The right platform will have a deep understanding of digital ad laws and compliance within the political space and offer programmatic features that support strong political campaigns. 

Want to run exceptional programmatic campaigns? Request a demo to learn more about StackAdapt.

graphic illustrating political elections with a call to action to down the 2024 Political Advertising Playbook
Katrina Moore
Katrina Moore

Sales Director


Katrina is a Sales Director leading the Democratic side of the Political and Advocacy team. She has experience with five cycles in politics and three Presidential election cycles. She loves exploring the best ways to reach voters across the intersection of digital channels.