Audience Partners Voter-Targeted Patent Serves Ads Across Computers, Smartphones, Tablets, Addressable TVs

Originally Published in Mediapost

Voter file data now up for grabs in some political ad targeting campaigns could change the game for some of the more tech-savvy political candidates. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued Patent No. 8,763,033 to Audience Partners for its proprietary technology allowing political campaigns to target digital advertising using voter registration records and a host of other data.

The data, as it relates to the patent, points to voter file data that advertisers can only use for political campaigns or advocacy campaigns to promote a piece of legislation, proposition on the ballet or social cause. Restrictions at the state level prohibit the data being used for commercial targeting. Jeff Dittus, Audience Partners CEO and co-founder, said this has been done for years in direct mail and on the streets by knocking on doors, but not in online campaigns.

Dittus said Audience Partners licenses the voter registration data to many online ad publishers such as Yahoo. “It was exotic when we started and now it’s expected,” he said. “Politicians have grown accustomed to micro-targeting.”

In addition to voter file data, the patent taps into political demographic data such as party affiliation, voting history and political geography to target and place advertising and messaging across millions of Web sites, mobile apps and multiple digital devices including addressable TVs.

Depending on which of the four screens the ad gets served, the platform with either match the voter registration data to information in a cookie or a device ID, anonymously. The patent gives the company access to billions of proprietary cookies and nearly 100 million anonymous mobile phone and tablet IDs. The technology learns the most effective device to serve the advertisement or marketing message.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie used Audience Partners’ technology in the last campaign to remind people to get out and vote.

Dittus points to Kantar Media data that suggests the political media category will reach $4.5 billion this year, and over time digital has grown to 7% of political spending.

Audience Partners began working on the patent in 2011, as real-time bidding systems began to become widely adopted. The platform also lets recipients send text messages andtweets out to friends based on the messages received.