“For political campaigns, reaching younger, more diverse, swing voters through live TV advertising alone is problematic.”

It’s a multi-layered challenge for political campaigns: TV is still the best way to reach the biggest audience, but media markets don’t necessarily map on to Congressional districts. In a cash-conscious campaign (and aren’t they all?), spending money to advertise to people who can’t even vote on your issue or candidate is bitter pill. Add to that the declining TV audience (or, better put, the increase in non-TV audiences) and the growth of “micro-targeting” on social media, and it raises the question about how best to allocate advertising dollars to reach the most relevant audience.

WaPo goes into more depth in this March 15 article, citing a bipartisan research effort from earlier in the year:

Live TV isn’t going away; it’s just not as dominant as it once was. Seventy percent of those surveyed said they had watched live television in the previous week. But fully 30 percent said that, other than live sporting events, they had watched no live television in the previous week. For younger voters, it’s closer to 40 percent.

Video on demand, streaming, smartphones and tablets have changed viewing habits. In the past three years, according to the survey, the percentage of people watching streaming content — think “House of Cards” on Netflix — has roughly doubled, to 27 percent of the population. Viewing content on smartphones has about doubled to roughly the same percentage of users. Tablet viewing has jumped from 14 percent to 26 percent in less than two years.

These changes in viewing habits coincide with the dramatic growth in the prevalence of smartphones and tablets. Today, two-thirds of the population has a smartphone; more than half said they have a tablet.

The bottom line is the same, political campaign or consumer marketing campaign — reach the people most interested in or persuadable by your message, with the least waste. Or as put by Obama media advisor Jim Margolis, ““The objective is reaching voters where they are. Content is content and whether you see an ad or video on your iPad, your TV or on your smartphone, our job is to get in front of your eyeballs and get your attention. That means looking for gaps in TV penetration, and finding targets someplace else…to do it right requires more work and sophistication than when people were watching four local stations and we were bombing them . . . with ads. The advertising world has changed in powerful ways and reaching voters is more challenging than ever before”