Digital Jargon, Explained: Voter Targeting for your Political Campaign

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And, we’re back! As we all know, the digital advertising world throws around a lot of jargon. The constant flow of acronyms, technical terms, and insider language can feel daunting to anyone trying to enter the space. So, we’re here to help! In this series, we will break down digital advertising terminology and explain – in layman’s terms – what it means and why it matters for your campaign. This week, we’re digging into various types of voter targeting, and where your voters will see your digital ads online. Let’s get to it!


Inventory is designated ad space on any website. Remember in our first Digital Jargon, Explained, how we discussed the importance of your ad being one of a handful of key sizes? This is so important because of the standardized sizes of available “inventory” to place ads. Websites have spaces where they are able to deliver ads to your voters. These spaces are specific, standard sizes, so it is critical your ad is sized properly – and not a pixel off. Even a single pixel could decrease an advertiser’s ability to deliver an ad, because it won’t fit in the designated space – or “inventory.”

Premium Inventory

Premium inventory is the best of the best placements for your ads on websites. A banner ad across the top of is premium inventory. What isn’t premium inventory? Your ad populating on a food blog, so far below any meaningful content that your voter would need to scroll 12 times to see it.

Our premium inventory with SpeakEasy

We care deeply about providing you with high quality ad delivery at SpeakEasy, so we set the highest standards. We only place ads in premium inventory, meaning we fight to ensure your ads are placed “above the fold” on screens without the need for scrolling.


“Campaign-safe” means that a website or webpage contains content that will not have negative impacts for your campaign. At SpeakEasy, our campaign-safe guidelines ensure that your ad will never be seen on a hyper-conservative news site such as Fox News or Breitbart and it will never be seen on any sites with drugs, alcohol, or other inappropriate content.

Voter Targeting

When we talk about voter targeting, we mean strategically deciding which voters you want to deliver your ad to. There are a couple different types of voter targeting: Cookie and IP.

Cookie Targeting 

Cookie targeting involves targeting individual voters, whether it be on their phones, computers or tablets. This is the type of voter targeting we use at SpeakEasy. We prefer it because we know we are always delivering ads directly to your voter, and not their spouse, child, or neighbor who figured out the wifi password.

How does cookie targeting work?

When you either upload a list of voters to target or select your voter targets through our platform, we take that list, and load it into a tech platform that matches each voter on the list. This technology uses personal information from the voter file and through “internet cookies,” or small pieces of data and code you leave behind on the internet. What we get is a list of cell phones, computers, and tablets owned by voters on your list that we can target the ad to. Typically, the system is able to match about 50-60% of your list to their devices. Once we have our list of devices, we can deliver ads to them, ensuring that you reach only your targeted voters.

IP Targeting

IP targeting works largely the same way, but the key difference here is that IP addresses exist only at the household level, rather than the individual level. While IP targeting typically matches up to 90% of voters to their proper household (through the household IP address), there is no way to target individual voters. So while you could be delivering ads to your target voter, you could be delivering to their spouse, their child who is not able to vote, a visiting family member who is registered to vote in another jurisdiction, or the random neighbor with the wifi password.

What does this mean for your campaign?

It’s important not to get carried away with match rates. You will never catch every voter through every medium, so a more precise, but potentially less far-reaching digital program is typically a better deal for a small, tight-budgeted campaign, because you can be sure you aren’t paying for wasted impressions. Between your digital program, your mail pieces, your door-to-door canvassing, your phone banking, and the rest of your campaign events, anyone who did not match into your digital program will likely be found elsewhere. So don’t waste digital impressions on non-voters.

That’s all for today, folks! For more digital jargon terms, take a look at our other Digital Jargon, Explained blogs, focusing on types of digital ads and interpreting ad performance. And as always, if you have terms you’d like for us to break down, feel free to send them over to [email protected]. We’re here to help!

We are SpeakEasy Political, the leading tool for campaigns and organizations to easily create high-impact digital media and direct mail campaigns.  By leveraging innovative media strategies and our brand building experience, our tech powers Democratic candidates and causes up and down the ballot. SpeakEasy’s Consultant Studio was also built to support consultant teams with leading data, strategic targeting, and comprehensive ad tech to serve as your backend media buying operation.

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