The new dimensions of political targeting

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We’re all familiar with political mailers hitting only the mailboxes of specially targeted households. And with Facebook ads scrolling past only the eyes of certain demographically selected users. Well now, the same capabilities are being touted by DISH Network and DirecTV for television advertising. Like… WHOAH. 

“This phenomenon is set to really take over and dominate the political television advertising landscape,” said Alex Lundry, a former campaign staffer for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the co-founder of the Republican data firm Deep Root Analytics. 

Targeted TV ads are limited only by the fact that fewer than half of all households have a receiver that allows broadcasters to air some ads to some households and not others. 

There are some similar shenanigans stirring up over at Pandora, the music application that also airs advertisements — at least for the listeners who don’t pay to go ad free. 

According to Pandora’s director of product management, station selection communicates a lot about each listener. For example, if a person is registered in their thirties and have tagged a kid’s music station, chances are that you’re a parent. Some advertisers also target Hispanic residents of certain neighborhoods by tracking who listened to salsa. 

Through analysis of subscriber ZIP code and music preferences, Pandora will begin offering a new service that allows candidates to target listeners based on their predicted partisanship. 

According to Pandora, classic rock and hip hop boast the most bipartisan audiences, while country fans lean Republican and reggae fans, Democrat. 

The moral of this story? To many Americans, it may just be, “Thank God for fast-forward on DVR.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.