Sept. 13, 2019 | The Q Podcast 

Buying Time Media:

Political Media Campaigns

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                    This episode of the podcast was a great one, especially with the uniqueness of timing of all the presidential debates going on, the political space starting to heat up and gear up for the 2020 races. We had Buying Time in with Nathaniel Kronisch and Erin Connolly. They have worked within the political marketing space for, God... I mean, Nathaniel's been doing it since the early 2000s, and then Erin got her background working in polling and data, and really the analytic side of things.
                    They were able to provide so much insight on what it takes to do a marketing campaign in the political space, and also kind of touch on some of the changes that have happened within Facebook, social media, some of the new things that they have to keep up with, the GDPR compliance, consumer protection and privacy laws, all that stuff. So, it was a great podcast just to talk about how they work with their clients, how they really get advocacy campaigns out there, how they reach people, and the approaches they take, and the strategic ways they'll go about buying media and placing buys. So, hopefully you enjoy it. This is The Q.
                    Awesome. Thanks, Nathaniel, thanks, Erin, for joining us here on The Q. First of all, I just want to say... Erin, you said it's your... Not your first time to Austin. You just said that you're into music. I imagine you've maybe been here for some music festival. I don't know what-

Erin Connolly:      I haven't. I haven't yet.

James:           Oh, no.

Erin Connolly:      I haven't yet, but it's something that I want to do. We were actually talking about South by Southwest. I want to come back for that, definitely.

James:           Yeah. They actually do have... It's not just music now. It's crazy. They have interactive, film, God, all the gaming and sports. It's crazy.

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah. I mean, it's really become a big tech conference almost more than a musical festival at that point.

James:           And it's a crazy just the city's on fire type thing, and it's the best weather. Y'all came here in September where it's still 95 degrees. But people do come down here during South by, and they're like, "Oh, yeah, this is how the weather is supposed to be, 80 degrees and 60 at night," but not normally the case. But yeah, Nathaniel, where are you from? Where'd your...

Nathaniel K.:       So, I live in Potomac, Maryland, and I hail from Rockville, Maryland, which is about five minutes away. Went to the University of Maryland at College Park, and live and work in D.C. pretty much my whole life, and that's a rarity. I mean, most people that kind of grow up around Washington leave. Very few people that sort of grew up where I grew up are still there, and most of the people that live there now hail from other places. So, it's very much a transient town. So, to say sort of born and raised is... You see people's eyeballs kind of get a little wide when you're there.

Erin Connolly:      [crosstalk 00:03:57]

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah, it's very strange.

James:           Why is that? Do you think it's just people are... It's just such a political-heavy town, or-

Nathaniel K.:       Well, political and government. I think people think politics in D.C., but it's also very much a government town. So, our factory town is politics and government, and not even just politics, but really working for the Federal Government too. That's kind of our industry. People that don't want to do that go other places. Then the people from all over the country that do want to work in government and in service or politics come from really all over. It really makes D.C. kind of a cool place because it's a very diverse town, very much multicultural, a lot of different people, a lot of different opinions, and the city has sort of taken on that vibrancy over the last 20 years, and it's a really cool place to live.

James:           Yeah. What was it like growing up there? I mean, were you pretty aware of what was going on in the nation at all times? Were you-

Nathaniel K.:       Very much so. My dad worked for the Census Bureau, so very much kind of the government sort of bureaucracy and that whole machine, not very political at all, not a political appointee, but really sort of was a number cruncher and a computer programmer for the Census Bureau my whole life, or up until he retired.

James:           What years was he doing that?

Nathaniel K.:       So, he started in the early '70s.

James:           Wow.

Nathaniel K.:       So, he was really one of the first sort of computer... When the Census Bureau first started sort of using computers to literally count humans in America, he was sort of one of the forefront programmers at that, and he stuck there until 2003 when he retired. So, watching that was fascinating, and being in that household. But other than that, we were really just a typical suburban... Outside of a regular city it's just, like I said... I hesitate to use the word white collar, blue collar. I mean, government was sort of the industry of that town.

James:           Yeah. Makes sense too, because then people who are not wanting to be in service or government, they're like, "Hey, I got to get out of here, go to New York," where I guess you're coming from, Erin.

Erin Connolly:      I just moved there, yeah. So, I've lived there for over a year, a little over a year now, but I lived in D.C. for eight years. I went to school there, and then-

James:           Maryland as well, or-

Erin Connolly:      No, I went to George Washington in D.C.

James:           Oh, okay. Cool. Yeah, yeah.

Erin Connolly:      But I'm from Massachusetts originally, so kind of all over the place.

James:           Nice.

Erin Connolly:      But yeah, I just moved to New York, been there for a little bit over a year. But yeah, that's how I got started with Buying Time, was I was there in D.C. and just kind of got over into Buying Time.

James:           That's great. How do you like New York so far?

Erin Connolly:      I like it. It's good. It's like a good halfway point between Massachusetts and D.C., and it's a whole... I mean, it's New York. You're never wanting for anything to do.

James:           No. No, that's true. The city that never sleeps.

Nathaniel K.:       As an agency, it's good to have a presence in New York-

Erin Connolly:      Yep. I'm the one.

Nathaniel K.:       ... and Erin does that phenomenally for me.

Erin Connolly:      The one-person presence.

James:           So, how did you get involved in the marketing and political side of things?

Erin Connolly:      Well, going to school in D.C., I was always interning. I think I interned every semester except for one, and then my second semester, senior year, I worked at a polling agency, which was in writing the political polls and kind of doing the cross-tabulations and data and kind of stuff like that, and then-

James:           What was that like? I mean, at the time-

Erin Connolly:      It was in 2014, so it was interesting. Yeah. It was cool. I mean, it's something that you don't really think you're going to go into, how they actually structure the questions and the way that you phrase things, and listening to people that give the polling, and then getting all the data back. It was really interesting.

James:           Is it mostly post-voter polling, or is it just-

Erin Connolly:      All.

James:           Oh, really?

Erin Connolly:      No, no, no, tracking. Sorry, not post-voter. We did a little bit, but mostly, it was tracking polls and initial polls and kind of seeing the way to craft the messaging to then kind of get it over to the creative agencies that then give it to Buying Time, so which is then...

James:           Wow.

Erin Connolly:      We were in the same suite as Buying Time, and I kind of just transitioned over.

Nathaniel K.:       I would say this too. I mean, Erin's background in polling, it's very unique in the media agency world, and as we get more reliant on data and understanding our audiences, and as our audiences are kind of fragmented, having somebody with a data and polling background is almost like having kind of a secret weapon in your agency, and Erin gives us a perspective from the polling side that I think is very unique, that we're very lucky to have. We've been very, very grateful for that.

James:           That's good. Yeah, data is king now-

Nathaniel K.:       It is.

James:           ... and I think it's... If you haven't figured that out...

Nathaniel K.:       It is.

James:           That's funny. So, how did you get started in the... I know you grew up in D.C., so you probably were around it, and your father being Census-

Nathaniel K.:       I did. So, I did. I grew up in D.C., and I sort of grew up around all the big, giant white buildings downtown, and I had a fascination with history. So, history, I was sort of always a history geek in high school and college, and a government geek and politics geek, and history-

James:           Do you have a favorite time period?

Nathaniel K.:       I would say post-World War II, just because that's sort of the post-Rooseveltian era through today, but that interest in history I think sparked sort of an interest in government and sort of shaping history. So, when I graduated college in 2000, my first job was really any political job that I could find, and that's how I think a lot of people start in politics in D.C., is they just want to get in the door somewhere. For me, that was a democratic consulting, media consulting firm called Fenn & King Communications, which is now Fenn Communications. I worked as sort of a media buyer there, just basically buying advertising time for any one of our political clients during that election cycle, and that was the Clinton-Gore... I'm sorry. That was the Gore-Bush cycle. That was 2000. That was the great Florida year, and so-

James:           Yeah, the infamous hanging chads.

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah. That was the hanging chad year, exactly. That was my first foray into how insane politics actually is when you are in it. So, I worked there, and then did that through 2000, and then in 2002, a buddy of mine actually ran for the Maryland House of Delegates, which I graduated University of Maryland with. He graduated a couple years before me, and took me on as his campaign manager. So, me and this 25-year-old guy were running around Prince George's County, Maryland just trying to get any vote we possibly could, and ended up winning. Then from there-

James:           What was that grassroots campaign like?

Nathaniel K.:       It was all grassroots campaign. So, it was from 2000, doing all television and mass media, to going in 2002, literally knocking door-to-door with no media budget at all, and just a couple of mailers, and-

James:           What was that day like? I guess, how long were you out there just knocking on doors?

Nathaniel K.:       So, that primary was in September. It was actually September 12th, which was September 12th, 2002, which was actually the year after September 11th, 2001. So, there was always that kind of hanging over that primary date. But there was a very competitive primary, and so we basically spent June through August every day in D.C. 90-degree heat, knocking on doors and trying to just basically get every vote you can, because that's how it worked. It wasn't a very organized campaign structure. It was literally just us banging doors as much as we could and meeting people. What I discovered doing that was that I liked sitting on my ass at a desk, buying media-

James:           In the A/C.

Nathaniel K.:       ... and not schvitzing in 95-degree heat. I think that's how I got back into the media. Then in 2003, I joined the firm that I'm with now, Buying Time, where I started out as, again, very similar job, media buying, media strategy, and then from there, become media director in 2006, and then broke off, as the digital sort of media started to come into fold in the mid 2000s, broke off the digital practice in 2015, did the digital media, and then broke off the digital practice in 2015 as its own separate entity and started Buying Time Digital, and I am the CEO of that right now. I also still hold the hat of vice president over at the sort of mother firm, Buying Time.

James:           That's great. I guess you were there at an interesting time, with the digital-

Nathaniel K.:       It was.

James:           ... just boom of, and not only social media, but just people being online more, having more access to it.

Nathaniel K.:       It was. I mean, I bought my first digital ad. I remember it specifically. It was a banner ad that I was able to get on Yahoo!, and it was this giant, huge accomplishment in 2004.

Erin Connolly:      Wow.

Nathaniel K.:       It was during the 2004 election cycle.

Erin Connolly:      That's a TBT.

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah. It was an issue group that wanted to get voters out in Colorado for John Kerry. I learned all about digital specs, and just literally doing it on the fly, finding a number for Yahoo!, basically by Googling, "What is Yahoo!'s phone number?"

James:           You didn't Yahoo! Yahoo!'s phone number.

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah, literally Googling, "What is..." It wasn't Google at the time.

Erin Connolly:      Ask Jeeves?

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah. I don't even know if there was Google at the time.

Erin Connolly:      It was Ask Jeeves or something like that.

Nathaniel K.:       It was literally Ask Jeeves-ing, "How do I find the phone number for Google?" and then going through, spending half a day trying to get to their advertising firm, and then somehow getting lucky enough to find somebody that could sell me a banner at... I think the budget was probably in the thousands, which is a drop in the bucket.

James:           Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Nathaniel K.:       They let me do it, and I sent them this file, and I remember being so proud to see this ad for one of my clients on Yahoo!, yahoo.com, in Colorado. They sent me the screenshot, and it was this big, giant eureka moment. I felt like I published my first book. If you think about what it must feel like to get the first book jacket if you're an author, that was my feeling when I saw my first-

Erin Connolly:      Your first book jacket?

Nathaniel K.:       ... my first static banner ad on Yahoo!, and that was 2004. So, it's just funny to think about this predated Facebook, this predated YouTube, this predated any kind of video advertising online. It predated any of that. So, from this very simple static image, which is what the technology was of the day, to watch the evolution of how digital media has grown through now, when you're literally running entire television campaigns through digital platforms, has been kind of fascinating.

James:           Yeah, that's interesting. I guess you also were working for a company that was very forward-thinking. I'm sure y'all were... I'm not sure if there was a ton of other marketing companies that worked with political clients, whereas, I don't know, forefront, on the forefront of buying digital ads-

Nathaniel K.:       Well, I always like to think that we are currently on the forefront of it, but at that time, no, there wasn't a lot of digital ad buying for elections at all, very, very, very [crosstalk 00:14:47]

James:           Was there a way to track it? I know you were happy to see that, the screenshot, but-

Nathaniel K.:       I mean, again, that's an interesting question too. I mean, obviously I didn't have an ad server at that time, so we were very reliant on publishers, or any publisher for that matter, just to give us any data that they possibly could. Obviously, since then we have our own ad server, and we're ingesting all the ads that we have, all the data on our dashboard in realtime, but certainly not then. That wasn't the case, and it wasn't very targeted either. It was mind-blowing that I could run an ad just in Colorado. That Yahoo! was smart enough to be able to do that was just really beautiful.

James:           You're like, "I can geo-target just this state?"

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah, it was amazing. It was like, holy crap.

Erin Connolly:      Your like, "What's a geo-target?"

James:           Yeah. What's a geo-fence? Yeah. I guess, how has that been too, I guess over the course of working with your, whatever advocacy campaign you work with, and maybe educating these certain initiatives or even candidates that you work with? Is that difficult over time, been over time, just to...

Nathaniel K.:       I would say until the 2010, 2012 period, we were doing a lot of educating on things that you could kind of do, and here are all the things that you can do. Right now, I think we have a lot of clients and a lot of people in the world that are kind of too smart to be dangerous, or they're so smart that they're dangerous, where now we're telling a lot of people kind of what you can't do. So, I think that there's a lot of myths, that people think that there's targeting parameters out there that are doable, and we kind of find ourselves reigning them in a little bit. I don't think people think about the numbers in terms of microtargeting the way that they should, and so we'll be given these advertising budgets, and then they'll give us these really, really small targeting parameters, and we find ourselves basically having to tell our clients, "We could do that, but your frequencies are going to be through the roof, and you're going to be wasting your money running the same ad to the same individual 200 times over the course of three days, and-"

Erin Connolly:      That's going to make them have the opposite reaction.

Nathaniel K.:       It will, and it-

Erin Connolly:      If they get served 200 ads of the same thing, they're not going to want the [crosstalk 00:17:04] that you are [crosstalk 00:17:04]

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah, and I guess it's a long, rambling way of saying there's a lot of things that we, I guess, quote, unquote, can do, but that doesn't necessarily mean we should do it. I find myself saying that a lot of times to clients too. "Yes, we can do that, but should we do it," question mark, and a lot of that also comes down to data usage, and really, what's the data actually telling you, and how valuable is the data that you actually have as well?

James:           Yeah. How do you discern... I mean, you're on the data side. How do you tell which data to use or which one to apply when you're working with a particular campaign?

Erin Connolly:      It depends on what kind of data they want, a first-party versus third-party data. So, if they have a list, we need to match it and see if it's coming back with a solid match rate or not, and then figuring out kind of why, if it's a bad match rate, kind of why that's happening, or if we're pulling in third-party lists, seeing the audience size isn't seeing actually what the client wants to get at, and if they... Again, like the microtargeting, it's like sometimes the more specific, they're actually not going to get the people they want, so it's kind of looking at the different types of data that you can bring in and seeing, when you cross them, what's the audience size, and if that's actually... Depending on the population or community, you can realize, okay, that's not what we want to be doing. There's clearly something off, or there's something that we're missing. It's kind of just like piecing it together and [crosstalk 00:18:18]

Nathaniel K.:       Ultimately, it comes down to numbers here.

Erin Connolly:      Yeah, it's audience size for this.

Nathaniel K.:       I mean, if you're going to give me a list of a hundred people that I can match maybe 70% of it, then that's 70 people, and then you're going to give me a budget of many, many thousands of dollars. The cost to reach that individual voter, there's a significant diminishing return on that. At some point, it's just a terrible business decision. You could just call that person and say, "Hey, vote for me."

Erin Connolly:      Right, knock on [crosstalk 00:18:46] their door.

James:           Which there are people that do that.

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah. I mean, it-

Erin Connolly:      Just knock on their door.

Nathaniel K.:       I know that those are extreme examples, but some of the examples that we get aren't that far off from that, where when you actually do the math on what is the cost per reaching that individual and penetrating that one person with the budget that you have, then diminishing returns come into play, and at some point you're actually hurting your overall campaign, not just your media campaign, but these are resources that can be spent other ways. So, we try to be honest with our clients and really help them make those decisions because, like I said, a lot of them don't really... They think that, okay, well... There's this sort of myth out there that you need to spend 15% of your dollars on digital, or whatever the number is, and so they do the math, and this is what 15% of their budget is on digital.
                    Then they give you the audience, and the numbers don't necessarily align. What's best for business for us is our clients winning, and our clients winning elections, and whatever advocacy campaigns, things passing. It's not necessarily just buying the most impressions that we possibly can. So, at the end of the day, wins are what helps my business model more than just placing a whole bunch of money, because more wins means more clients, means more clients, means more clients. So, it's incumbent on us to really help our clients make really good decisions. When they're messing around with data that they don't necessarily, A, either understand, or budgets that they don't really understand what that can actually accomplish, it can get really dangerous.
                    One of the things that I think I learned from that 2002 election when I was banging on doors was how valuable campaign resources are, and that the budget that you get doesn't just come out of thin air. I mean, more often than not, a political campaign budget is literally the campaign calling his best friends and just asking for money for three hours a day. That can be a pride-sucking, very difficult, tenuous experience. So, when you have a campaign or a candidate that's working so hard and swallowing so much pride and just asking people for any donation you possibly can get, you need to be very good stewards of those budgets, and you have a responsibility to be stewards of those budgets. So, with that sort of lurking in the back of your minds, it's incumbent upon us to be as open and honest with the best way that they can spend their campaign dollars to get the voters that they can get, and do that as responsibly as possible.

Erin Connolly:      There should never be a recommendation of just buying the most impressions. If a company is telling you, "Yeah, we can just buy the most impressions," that means they're putting security on it. They're not having fraud detection. They're not actually probably targeting as much as they should. If somebody ever says, "We just want to buy the most impressions," that's a bigger conversation. It's like, no, we want them to be good impressions. We want the KPIs to match up. That should never be the main KPI, is just serve impressions.

James:           It's changed. That probably may have been a thing 15, 14 years ago. Hey, I just want to get as many impressions. That was the thing, but then you have viewability and all the other layering and all the other targeting. It's definitely changed the game.

Nathaniel K.:       Right, and a lot of our clients also come from the television side, so they don't think about things like viewability or ad fraud. They want to get their thousand or 1,500 gross rating points per spot, and they want the equivalent of that. So, they think a rating point, a rating point, a rating point. Well, an impression isn't an impression, isn't an impression. There's a very different return on what a display ad will get you versus a skippable YouTube ad versus a Facebook message versus an un-skippable pre-roll ad or an OTT ad. These are all very different types of impressions, and they're all going to lend to very different KPIs. So, understanding that and helping our clients understand that is paramount.

James:           How has the digital space changed grassroot campaigns, smaller campaigns? Is it easier for... Data, you can gain access to data, or if you're working with somebody like Buying Time, but how has that changed the approach with, say, knocking on doors, or is it as important as maybe having a presence online?

Nathaniel K.:       Again, grassroots isn't... I haven't really done grassroots in 17 years, so it's not my expertise, but I would say this. One thing that it's really helped us to do isn't so much in terms of voter turnout and GOTV, but it's a very good tool for organizing, so for organizing for a campaign event, for bringing out volunteers, raising money, building volunteer lists. Digital campaigns have been very, very important. I think that the use of digital, not so much on the... Certainly, on the mass media scale, turning out voters, it's very helpful. But for the grassroots side, I think digital communications are used more as tools to bolster the campaign as much as the turning out of voters. It's never going to replace knocking on doors, and it's never going to replace a really good piece of mail, but what it will do is it'll bring people in the door, and it'll bring people into your campaign that maybe wouldn't have been in your campaign 15 years go.

Erin Connolly:      And you can do a good amount with a small budget.

Nathaniel K.:       Sure, absolutely.

Erin Connolly:      There's a lot that we can do with a small budget, which I feel like in other parts of the industry, maybe a TV spot's always going to be a certain amount. You can hit a small community of people, a suburb or a town or a single zip code, with a couple hundred dollar... I mean, I'm not going to recommend a couple hundred dollars, but you can do something with it that's actually going to be fruitful and not just like throwing money at something. It's like, we can actually come up with some tactics that actually make it worth their while and make those dollars actually go far.

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah. To be clear, I think that as an awareness play, and as a name ID play, I think digital is one of the strongest things you can do right now, but in terms of just sort of... To your original question, on the grassroots level, to build communities, using digital has been sort of a game changer, I think, on the ground and local levels.

Erin Connolly:      Yeah. There's less waste. Again, a zip code-

Nathaniel K.:       Absolutely.

Erin Connolly:      ... versus a DMA, there's going to be so much less waste. If you only have a certain amount of money to spend, digital's pretty much a strong way to go.

James:           And you know who the voters are. Not that your dad didn't, probably, the Census Bureau back in the '70s, which I guess this might be an exciting time for Census Bureau people. 2020 is coming up, and that's a big year for people.

Nathaniel K.:       It is.

James:           So, I guess, let's move on, and this is something I know that our listeners are probably going to want to hear from how y'all have dealt with it, but social media and the changes after the 2016 election, everybody's... I mean, you can probably talk to this a lot, but I guess, how have y'all dealt with that, I guess first question, and the second question, what has been the change since then?

Nathaniel K.:       So, I think one of the biggest things since 2016 is the requirements from us, the agencies, and the clients to sort of disclose who's paying for these ads. I will say this. Facebook, Google and Twitter have done a really good job over the last 18 months or 12 months to update their political disclosure practice. I'm not going to lie, it's a pain in the ass for us. Yeah. We literally need to get W-9s from our clients now that we have to submit to Google and Twitter in order to run advertising for them, and we actually will in the next month for Facebook too. Facebook is also moving in that direction.
                    But also, as individuals, we have to be verified by Facebook as well, so almost like Facebook needs to certify Nathaniel Kronisch to be able to run political ads on their platform, and that process is fascinating too. The way that works is I had to submit my Social Security number and driver's license, both front and back, to Facebook, pictures of it, and then Facebook, this is going to just... The hilarity of this and the irony of this is so funny, that Facebook sends you a letter in the mail, a postcard to your home address in the mail. So, Facebook's not doing anything electric. They're actually literally sending you a postcard using US Mail, regular mail, with a stamp on it and everything-

Erin Connolly:      Shout out, USPS.

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah, shout out to USPS. Exactly.

James:           Those are delivered by a postman?

Nathaniel K.:       By a postman or an owl, i.e. Harry Potter or-

James:           Yeah, Harry Potter. Yeah.

Nathaniel K.:       ... or a raven, however you want.

Erin Connolly:      We can all dream.

Nathaniel K.:       Sure. Then you take your postcard and your code, and you have to input your code into Facebook, and then by doing that, Facebook knows that you're a US resident. You have citizenship in the United States, so you can actually run ads for a political client.

Erin Connolly:      You're not a robot. You're not a bot.

Nathaniel K.:       You're not a robot.

James:           It's through your Facebook account, though.

Nathaniel K.:       It is.

James:           So, you would log in, enter this code-

Nathaniel K.:       So, I'd log in as my Nathaniel Kronisch Facebook account, which has access to my Business Manager account through Facebook, which is the Facebook advertising platform, but it knows that I'm the one importing the ads, and because I live in the United States and use US dollars, I can place Facebook ads, and that authorizes me.

James:           That's insane. You had to do the same thing?

Erin Connolly:      Oh, yeah. I did the same thing, yeah.

James:           Oh, wow. That's interesting. And that's the whole Buying Time team, or anybody who touches the campaigns?

Nathaniel K.:       Anybody that touches a political ad or creates an ad with a political disclaimer has to be verified.

Erin Connolly:      Has to be, yeah. I think it's a couple of us at our agency that have it. Yep.

James:           And this happened, you said, about 18 months ago?

Nathaniel K.:       This was last, two Mays ago, because it was during the-

Erin Connolly:      Two years ago, yeah. It was-

Nathaniel K.:       May of '18.

Erin Connolly:      Yeah, yeah. It was pre-'18 cycle.

Nathaniel K.:       It was May of '18. Yeah. So, that was one, and then Google has sort of gone in a different direction where Google doesn't necessarily care who the individual is. They do a little bit, but they really care a lot more about who the organization is that the advertising is being done on behalf of. So, in order to make sure the organization is verified, we have to submit a W-9 form with a tax ID showing a legal-

Erin Connolly:      Or an FEC ID.

Nathaniel K.:       Or an FEC ID, yeah, or a Federal Elections Commission. If you're a federal candidate, you have a Federal Election number that you can submit too, which is a lot easier because there's a website that just has all those. But if it's not a federal candidate, we have to literally get W-9 forms that we have to upload to Google so that Google then okays, says, "Okay, this is actually a real, legitimate organization. Here is the Google Ads account that it's going to be advertising under. We know that they're a legitimate US organization because the billing works." So, they care less about the individual, and they care a little more about the organization. Now, Facebook is moving in that direction, where they care now both about who the organization is and who the advertiser is.

Erin Connolly:      I think with Facebook it was step one, confirming that we were an actual advertiser in light of everything that happened, and then step two is now kind of getting along the Google lines. I will say with Google though, too, if you're buying on the programmatic platform, there is a process. We had to go through a certification process to actually be on that platform too as well though.

Nathaniel K.:       That's true.

James:           To run ads across any other-

Erin Connolly:      To trade, yeah.

James:           YouTube or anything, or-

Erin Connolly:      Yeah. YouTube, and also if you're trading on a programmatic network like on Google-

James:           It's changed.

Erin Connolly:      ... you have to be certified to do that.

Nathaniel K.:       Google has also restricted us from advertising in certain states too, where regulations on data is... They don't-

Erin Connolly:      They don't accept.

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah. The state legislatures have made certain things on-

James:           Yep, California's new law that'll be-

Nathaniel K.:       California will... Yeah, that's going to add to the list too. Right now it's Washington, Nevada, New Jersey, and Maryland. You literally can't run ads using Google.

Erin Connolly:      There might be one more, but yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Nathaniel K.:       Those are the four.

James:           Yeah. There's a lot of other states that I know that have similar legislative bills that are going through. I don't know which ones. I don't know if Texas is one of those, but...

Nathaniel K.:       It's not at this point, at least not that I know of. I think the Federal Government needs to wrap their arms around it so that there's one standard-

James:           For those people that-

Nathaniel K.:       ... actually, the way that Europe has, by the way. I think GDPR, I don't know if you are familiar with what that is, but-

James:           Oh, you can explain it. Yeah.

Nathaniel K.:       I'd rather not.

James:           It's a lot of acronyms.

Nathaniel K.:       But I think that model is coming to the United States sooner rather than later, and I think that's going to change how not just political advertising is run, but the entire advertising ecosystem in this country.

James:           How so? How are y'all going to try and... Is there a way that you have already kind of set up like, oh, wow, well, now we got to comply and-

Nathaniel K.:       It's something we're thinking about. A lot of the GDPR regulations actually are going to fall onto the clients and on the websites that we're advertising on behalf of, but it will change how we're able to target media. I think first-party targeting is going to become a lot more complicated, and I think it's going to become a lot less frequent. I think you're going to see a lot less campaigns using first-party information to target, and whether that's a good thing or not, that's a whole 'nother debate, but I think you're going to go back to sort of the age of literally calling up websites and placing websites on one-off basis, almost like me in 2004 placing my banner ad on Yahoo! and being thrilled about that. I think that programmatic advertising is going to be very different when that comes down the line.

James:           It'll be impacted pretty well, and you're right.

Nathaniel K.:       I know Google's actually... I know in conversations I've had with them, they're preparing for that, and the way that they are sort of changing a lot of the way that they're looking toward the future. They're looking... I'm just trying to phrase this-

Erin Connolly:      Transparency?

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah. Well, transparency, but also, the way that Google Ads is going to function and the way YouTube is going to function is going to be very different two or three years from now. So, they're sort of preparing for that as well.

James:           Google Ads is already starting to take away certain things at the end of this month.

Nathaniel K.:       That's right.

James:           September 30th, average position for SEM ads is going to be taken away.

Nathaniel K.:       That's right.

James:           So, you really can't optimize towards that. I think it's going to be based mostly on impression share now, where you can kind of make optimizations in that regard. But I guess it levels the playing field a little bit. I'm not sure how so. I mean, if you have people who have been buying for years, then they have some leverage, but-

Nathaniel K.:       It is. It is, but that quality score I think is such an important thing. I think that was really one of the really... I think that the quality score, I think, is really one of the smart things that Google has in their buying platform on the SEM level, so I'm interested to see how that all plays out too.

James:           Yeah. If there's anything, I'll explain to the viewers, listeners too, that there's... Basically, what's happening with what the new laws with California, GDPR, it's giving people the right to elect-

Nathaniel K.:       That's right.

James:           ... to not use their data or use their data, and it'll have to be prompted, maybe through websites or platforms.

Nathaniel K.:       That's right. So, in order to target somebody on a first-party list, meaning sort of a list that we get from the Board of Elections, what GDPR is saying in Europe is that if you want to target those individuals or you want to use their information to target them, you need their permission. So, you need basically permission from every individual, needs to give you consent to basically advertise on their behalf. Also, on the website side, you basically need consent from the individual to cookie their computer. So, you can't just-

Erin Connolly:      You see that now-

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah, you do.

Erin Connolly:      ... if you go on a big UK, like a Daily Mail or something like that. You see they have to check the box, I understand that my cookie information-

Nathaniel K.:       You need that consent. So, that's all a part of it too.

James:           Which can happen every time your computer gets cached or whatever, every time you go to a new... Whatever happens, you get a new device, you have to continually...

Nathaniel K.:       Sure, and it's almost... I mean, it's a herculean task. It's impossible, really, to get consent from everybody on a first-party list to target. Certainly, that's not something that's going to be doable. So, I think that that's why being able to target on first party is going to be a thing of the past, probably sooner rather than later.

James:           Yeah. What about, and this is a section of the biz that's changed recently with TV and radio not necessarily dying, but we have a podcast that we're listening to right now, and we're doing, but everything's kind of moved to digital. How has that transition been going to, say, Pandora or Spotify or connected TV in that regard, with the TV platforms and over-the-top television changing?

Nathaniel K.:       That's a great question. So, it's funny. I mean, we talk about that 2000 election cycle that we sort of talked about before, where everything was broadcast. Pretty much, my job at that time and the job of a media buyer was basically to buy as much broadcast media as you could, and/or as much radio as you could, just linear, terrestrial radio. Cable was this just fascinating new technology that was just sort of coming out, and then the cable MSAs were sort of learning to sell themselves on local levels. So, the idea that you could call up at the time Comcast or Time Warner and buy cable locally in a certain county was this brand new game-changing idea. That you could run a spot on ESPN was amazing in the 2000s.

James:           Yeah, for a much cheaper cost.

Nathaniel K.:       For a much cheaper cost of targeting, and that... So, in a way, in 2000, cable was kind of like the digital of that time, and that was sort of the more microtargeting of that era, and the broad rotators that you had to buy, and the ads literally ran just the most random times when you were buying cable. But that was kind of the digital back then. So, to see a place right now where you're almost not even buying broadcast in many markets, or not even cable in many markets because your audience of under 35-year-olds aren't watching live television. I mean, they're just not. They're watching things... Even if they do have cable, and I think that the cord cutting number that you're hearing all the time is very overplayed, and I can go into that too. That's-

Erin Connolly:      And cord-nevers also, some people that just have never-

Nathaniel K.:       But those are-

James:           Gen-Zers. Yeah, they're never going to have cable.

Nathaniel K.:       Even those are such under/over. I think that that's one of the more overplayed things. I think still more people are kind of watching their televisions than... I don't think, I know. I mean, the numbers say that they are, but the problem is they're not watching them on live and primetime. Yes, I think people still... Cable penetrations are still 90%, whether it's cable or direct TV nationwide. I mean, again, that's another tangent I can go off on, but that being said, they're still not watching live television, that under 35-year-old. So, you have to still hit them with that 30-second campaign ad. How do you do that?
                    That really has been the challenge of where we are right now. How do you penetrate your 1,000 gross rating points of television so that you can ensure that everybody in your audience is seeing the spot 10 to 15 times? Now, certainly, that older demographic, they're still watching local news. They're still consuming news, and there's still that value in broadcast television. I think sports have become more important to buy, because that's live television that people are consuming. But finding those audiences other places where they're watching it is very difficult and very fractionated. They're all over the place. They're watching things all over the map. What's really getting frustrating too, and what's gotten frustrating, is the amount of non-ad-supported platforms that are being consumed too. So, when we talk about Netflix and Amazon Prime and a lot of the OTT platforms too, where can we hit these people with ads?

James:           Yeah. It's interesting too. As a cord-cutter myself, and being just slightly under the age of 35, you're right. Cord cutting is definitely becoming a thing, and also, there's other platforms that are somewhat better, whether it's YouTube Live or Hulu Live or Sling. How difficult is it right now to buy across those? I mean, is it kind of difficult for y'all to... Say you have an advocacy campaign in, let's just say Colorado again, and you need to hit certain communities. Is it easy for y'all to go, "Okay. Well, now who do we go after?"

Nathaniel K.:       So, it depends on the audience, and that's where doing the research on finding out what your audience is consuming, certainly. Again, talking in very big generalities here, if it's an older demographic, our data is probably going to show us that they're still consuming regular linear broadcast and cable television.

Erin Connolly:      And Facebook.

Nathaniel K.:       And Facebook.

Erin Connolly:      Facebook.

Nathaniel K.:       Absolutely Facebook, yes. Absolutely.

Erin Connolly:      Yeah, all the moms and dads on Facebook, and grandparents.

Nathaniel K.:       Absolutely Facebook, and that needs to be taken into the math as well. But ultimately, it's where your audience is consuming media, and that's where the research becomes paramount of importance.

Erin Connolly:      Data. That's where the data comes in, looking at the lists, looking at the third-party segments and seeing, okay, on some certain OTT platform their reach is going to be so small, and then you compare it to another medium, like a Facebook, and then the reach is going to be a lot larger. You have to kind of factor that in, why. Why is that? Does that mean... It means that they're not as present on one versus the other, and you have to really factor that in.

Nathaniel K.:       Our media plans are sort of resembling big, giant puzzles now more than ever. I think that's probably the best way to describe it-

Erin Connolly:      Yeah, it's interesting.

Nathaniel K.:       ... is finding the different pieces to create your larger picture for whatever the target audience is. So, before that it was just buying broadcast and cable, but now it's buying this many impressions on this platform, again, this many impressions on this platform, this many impressions on this platform, and this much television over here, and that's going to give you your best reach of frequency across this over a general audience.

Erin Connolly:      Like a rounded plan. Yeah.

James:           It's kind of insane to think that 15, 16 years ago, starting out there at Buying Time, and then you said... You're kind of the main piece of the digital. Well, the digital has just morphed into probably six different sections, social media, connected TV, display, programmatic. You could go-

Nathaniel K.:       It is. It's so funny too because the way you bucket these things too can be very different. So, things like the Pandoras and the Spotifys of the world, for certain campaigns those go into the digital bucket, but for certain campaigns, those go in the radio bucket-

Erin Connolly:      Traditional.

Nathaniel K.:       ... and the traditional bucket. OTT platforms, same thing. For many, many of our campaigns, that's digital, but if you're buying the connected TV portion of the OTT, if you're buying connected TV, for example, then does connected TV go in digital, or is that part of your television budget? So, that's a very interesting push/pull that we've been [crosstalk 00:42:19] too.

Erin Connolly:      Sometimes it's completely even separate. Sometimes they have people buying TV, people buying digital, and separate people buying OTT, because they consider them just all in their own buckets. It depends on the consulting and the client and how they categorize it or how... It also depends... Our company is kind of uniquely situated that we do buy TV, radio, and digital, and everything in between so that we can kind of have the conversations and make more of a wholistic full plan, but also, there are times that we're just doing the digital portion, and we're not buying with the TV side of our company, so it kind of also depends on that and where our clients think that the OTT fits in or thinks that the digital radio fits in.

Nathaniel K.:       That's something I'm very proud of too. I think that our agency is very unique in the fact that we do digital and quote-unquote traditional. There is sort of that stigma out there that if you are a television media buyer, then digital is foreign to you, and vice versa. If you know digital, then you probably haven't bought television. Because of the way Buying Time has evolved over the past 25 years, we are in a unique position to sort of understand the interplay of both platforms, and really provide that 360 media campaign that I think our clients value.

James:           Yeah, and the experience of just living it-

Nathaniel K.:       Sure, absolutely.

James:           ... because you've definitely lived through that change, so it's great. Last question just to... What do you guys see as a kind of... Is Tiktok the next big play?

Erin Connolly:      Oh, God.

James:           It's hard to predict the future, but is there anything that you see in the political side, especially coming up in the 2020 election cycle, is there anything that you see as more of a clients are going to be asking for, or a need going into the next year?

Erin Connolly:      I mean, I would think Twitter, just because of how much conversation has been going on about and on Twitter, and then I would also think OTT and CTV is kind of like the new, not the new, but there's a lot of space for it, and like we're talking about, I think those are going to be things that clients are going to be leaning into, and is kind of like the new thing for this, not new, but-

James:           Yeah, scale is growing. This could be-

Erin Connolly:      Yeah, that's sought after, and there's more ways of buying things like that.

Nathaniel K.:       Yeah. I mean, we're doing more educating, back to that educating question earlier. We've done more educating on OTT, over-the-top, and connected television, I think, in the last six months than really kind of any platform since we've started. I mean, we've done entire sort of decks and sort of webinars on how OTT works and how that is all bought. That I think is going to be the most important thing going forward in 2000, is sort of how do you replicate a television campaign when people aren't watching television. I think that's really the core question of 2020.

James:           A lot of data, and that's what you're going to be doing in the forefront. Well, how can they find y'all if anybody's interested in just following up or asking you questions with the work y'all have done?

Nathaniel K.:       Sure. So, we're located in Washington D.C. Website is buyingtime-digital.com. Love to hear from you.

James:           Awesome. Eventually, I'll get you-

Nathaniel K.:       And at Twitter @nkronisch.

James:           There you go.

Nathaniel K.:       K-R-O-N-I-S-C-H.

James:           You've been approved by Facebook, so you're-

Nathaniel K.:       I am.

James:           ... you're a US citizen.

Nathaniel K.:       I'm certified.

Erin Connolly:      We're certified, yes.

James:           Well, I was hoping by the end of this podcast I would've started y'all saying y'all, but...

Nathaniel K.:       I was saying it all night last night. It was just...

James:           Yeah. You'll take it back to Washington D.C.-

Nathaniel K.:       Absolutely.

James:           ... and other people will be like, "Oh, what happened to you? You have one day in Austin, and it changes you?"

Nathaniel K.:       That's how I'm going to address my kids, I think, going forward. Come on, y'all.

James:           Oh, they'll love that. Just show up with some boots and a cowboy hat. You'll be fine.

Nathaniel K.:       My girls will appreciate that.

Erin Connolly:      My boss and parents will be like, "I don't understand."

James:           Awesome. Well, thanks for joining us here in The Q.

Nathaniel K.:       Thank you.

Erin Connolly:      Thank you so much.

James:           This episode of the podcast is brought to you by Q1Media. Q1Media partners with agencies and brands all across the nation for all their digital marketing needs, whether it's CTV, OTT, location-based mobile device ID targeting, search engine marketing, targeted display. Any research and data that you need, whatever it is, Q1Media can help with your marketing efforts. Please check out Q1Media's website at q1media.com. That's Q, the number one, media.com. You can view case studies, examples of our work, or just check out more episodes of the podcast, The Q, Conversations in Digital Media.

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