What’s the Most Expensive Political Audience to Reach? Yep, It’s Millennials

TubeMogul research says young Republicans cost the most

With the third presidential debate now behind us, the only thing left this election season is the final three-week blitz of political ads.

When all is said and done after Election Day on Nov. 8, some predict it will have been the most expensive year in terms of political ad spending. (Borrell Associates predicts total spending across all races could hit $11.7 billion.) But not all voters are priced equal. In fact, according to one report, millennials are the most expensive group to reach.

Using current market prices for television, desktop and mobile ads, programmatic advertising platform TubeMogul examined the type of reach campaigns could achieve with a $5 million budget over a one-month period. The company also looked at audience pricing based on age, political affiliation and preferred device. (Last month, TubeMogul's research showed online video ads were more effective at swaying voters than linear TV ads.)

Taylor Schreiner, TubeMogul's vp of research said based on the $5 million budget, a campaign could reach 3.6 million Republicans ages 18 to 24 at a cost of $1.39 per person. That's the highest price for any group, according to TubeMogul. On the other hand, the campaign could reach 24.8 million Democrats based on the same budget, and the cost-per-person falls to just 20 cents. Schreiner gave two more examples: $5 million reaches 14.7 million female Democrats at 34 cents per person, but if they're looking to reach independent voters between the ages of 25 and 34, they can connect with 8.4 million people, and it'll cost 59 cents per person.

Determining the demos that are most expensive to reach has more to do with viewing habits than the size of the audience, Schreiner said. Groups that are harder to find are more expensive, but how a campaign reaches them is "dramatically different."

"In this cross-screen world, you're seeing that the hard-to-find groups are expensive to get to, but that's assuming you're doing it right," Schreiner said. "If you are doing an all mobile strategy or all desktop strategy or all TV strategy, you're liable to have a really hard time reaching these groups. … You end up with lower cost, but more missing of the mark."

Here's a deeper look at the price of reaching specific audiences, the possible reach and where to find them: