- February 23, 2022

Safely Navigating Election Advertising in 2022: A Q&A with L2 and Comscore

Jessica Trainor
Jessica Trainor
Head of Partnerships
Proximic by Comscore
Paul Westcott
Paul Westcott
Executive Vice President
L2, Inc

The 2022 political season is already upon us and the stakes for political-focused campaigns, marketers, and advertisers couldn’t be higher. This Q&A with experts from L2 and Comscore offers insights on today’s political landscape, why the partnership was formed, and how the launch of a first-of-its-kind cookie-free audience solution based on voter insights offers safe and effective election advertising.

Q1: As we enter 2022, why are accurate political intelligence, privacy, and trustworthy sources of news content going to be so important?

  • L2: We are often referred to as the “source of truth” for political organizations. We produce an enhanced national voter file, with data that is refreshed 3-8 times per year bringing streams of new registrants, voter histories, and updated district information that gives organizations a foundation on which to build. L2’s data hygiene methods ensure that our clients have the cleanest lists available. When you have a quality up-to-date file of who is registered to vote in your district, that means you can build upon it with consumer, demographic, contact, and quality modeled information.
  • Comscore: It’s a huge election year, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Comscore is built on a legacy of trust, transparency, and reliability. These three things coincidentally also serve as the undercurrent for everything having to do with political advertising. Whether that’s aligning with trusted news environments free of misinformation or enabling privacy-friendly targeting to reach relevant voters in local markets, advertisers today require quality data and future-proof targeting solutions that ensure they are reaching the right audiences in the right context.

Q2: What are the top things marketers and advertisers should prioritize while building their political advertising strategy for 2022?

  • L2: Quality — In the data space, like all industries, there are good and bad actors. Bad actors in the political data space are not only typically violating privacy laws and rules but they tend to also be providing low-quality information. L2 has been around for over 50 years and in that time, we have worked to perfect a 53-point hygiene and processing methodology to provide trusted voter and consumer data to marketers and advertisers. To remain both high quality and compliant, you can’t cut corners. Even if it’s not L2, there are other high-quality providers you can build your organization around.
  • Accuracy — L2’s national voter file database and VoterMapping Platform are built to be flexible and updated as districts change. Over the past decade, there have been dozens of changes prompted by court rulings and state legislatures that have resulted in L2 updating boundaries quickly. Here’s how L2 handles these changes:
    • Proposed Updates: Where available, L2 will provide proposed boundary updates inside of our VoterMapping Platform.
    • VoterMapping: Once state and federal district changes become official, L2 will be able to immediately add the boundary overlay files, giving users the ability to select and see the districts inside of our VoterMapping platform.
    • Historical Data: When new boundaries take effect, L2 doesn’t remove the old boundaries. We keep them in our system, giving users the ability to compare the old boundaries to the updated ones. Users can perform an instant analysis inside VoterMapping as well as in the database files themselves where the historic boundary data will be kept.
    • Five Decades of Experience: L2’s over 50 years of voter file processing experience will ensure data is processed correctly and as fast as possible, giving campaigns, consultants, researchers, media outlets, and others the fastest and most accurate look at the districts for 2022 and beyond.
  • Comscore: Elections are often won in the trenches by the smallest of margins. Low-quality data can lead to misrepresentation of hyper-localized behaviors, which can doom a marketing effort from the onset. To echo L2’s point, to successfully navigate election advertising in 2022, a strong marketing strategy must rely on quality, granular, and representative consumer data. It’s worth noting that programmatic advertisers inadvertently placed over 2.6 billion dollars’ worth of advertising alongside misinformation content last year alone. Advertisers need to be looking toward the future by tapping into targeting methodologies that account for the ever-evolving user ID landscape and that are able to navigate the ever-increasing amount of misinformation being produced.
L2 and Comscore Partnership

Q3: Can you walk us through why L2 and Comscore decided to partner and what do each of you as the experts in your respective fields bring to the table?

  • L2: At L2, we have a longstanding relationship and partnership with Comscore. We have a 50+ year reputation in guiding the political space and are looking for partners that believe in the mission of providing trusted and reliable consumer data and build their reputation and business around quality. Comscore has a proven track record of that with every product we’ve been involved with. Today, to succeed in this complex media environment, advertisers have an urgent need for granular consumer intelligence based on political behaviors and political opinions. Comscore has provided us with an innovative solution to amplify this valuable data and make it more accessible through their coverage.
  • Comscore: As Paul noted, L2 and Comscore have been partners for several years now. L2’s reputation within the political space as a trusted source of voter insights is unmatched. This is exactly why we wanted to partner with L2 when we decided to expand our Predictive Audiences to cover political-based segments. This partnership enables us to deliver first-of-its-kind cookie-free political audiences rooted in reliable consumer data through Comscore’s patent-pending Predictive Audiences solution. Comscore is uniquely positioned to produce cookie-free Predictive Audiences based on the combination of two key assets, our global opt-in panel and our AI contextual engine, which provides a crosswalk between consumer behaviors and privacy-friendly contextual signals.

Q4: Technically speaking, can you detail for us how this partnership offering works and results in the launch of a first-of-its-kind cookie-free audience solution based on voter insights?

  • L2: This data offering provides L2’s most popular and highly sought-after segments in a new way. Utilizing modeling created by L2 and Haystaq, this offering features 100+ issue and behavior segments, including how voters are most likely to feel about the economy, environment, Biden, Trump, their likely ideology, vote propensity, and more. It goes deeper than standard voter file segments and helps provide political marketers with an easy, accurate, and low-cost way to reach highly targeted audiences.
  • Comscore: To produce the Comscore Predictive Audiences in partnership with L2, we start with a seed set based on L2 audience behaviors. This seed set is connected with Comscore’s panels via a privacy-focused match process that doesn’t rely on the use of cookies. We leverage our panel to understand all the content audiences are currently consuming. The Predictive Audiences are then defined using Comscore’s AI contextual engine which maps content across 350,000 granular contextual categories. Leveraging our machine-learning algorithms, we create a model for each segment based on a cohort of audience attributes and the contextual categories directly consumed by that cohort. This results in a privacy-forward targetable segment that reaches audiences based on the digital, mobile, CTV, and audio content that is the strongest predictor of the originating audience behavior. The partnership delivers cookie -free voter profile audiences tailored for privacy-safe political targeting available in all leading DSPs. In fact, we’ve already seen great traction from buyers using these audiences since we launched last month. Some of the top audiences being leveraged today include "Consumer Values Environment over Price," "Supports More Environmental Protection," "Ideology Fiscal - Moderate," and "Ideology Social - Liberal."

Q5: Where do you see the combined L2/Comscore partnership and product offering evolving over time?

  • L2: Currently, Comscore is only working with a portion of L2’s data that is part of our voter file. L2 has hundreds of additional audiences from both our voter file and models layered on a national consumer file. We hope that there is enough interest and engagement to want to reach individuals in both the political space using the voter file and the consumer space using the L2 consumer models and attributes.
  • Comscore: This partnership with L2 builds upon the success we have had with our Local TV Advanced Audiences offering that provides dynamic consumer viewing insights and access to high-value audiences in local markets. At Comscore, we rely on quality data to help refine current products and constantly develop new solutions to meet our customer needs. Our goal is to drive impactful advertising for our customers, and I’m excited to hear from our mutual customers as they begin to leverage these new audiences. There is always an opportunity to expand upon our current list of over 260 Predictive Audiences based on voter insights, as Joy mentioned. Down the road, we may have clients interested in measuring how well their campaigns hit the target audience, and I could see this leading to partnership expansion opportunities.