June 2022 – No guesswork necessary: Digital targeting can guarantee your audience is served ads in their preferred language.

We all know how important turning out and persuading Hispanic voters is to the electoral success of Democrats. The ominous looking 2022 environment makes it even more imperative. With the general election fast approaching, I want to make the case for why Digital should be a primary Paid Media strategy for any campaign with a significant percentage of key voters who are bilingual or speak English as a second language.

Digital Targeting Using Browser Language Preferences

The advantage of Digital targeting over other Paid Media options boils down to its ability to target using browser language preferences, and how that can be layered with the other excellent targeting options Digital offers. On every single major Digital platform we serve ads on, users choose the language they want to consume media in.  We can then let the target audience members’ self-selection of their language preferences dictate if they see the English version of the ad or the Spanish language version.

Graphic explaining Digital Targeting Using Browser Language Preferences

When you combine: 

  • Digital’s ability to serve different ads based off of browser language preferences


I believe the result is that, dollar for dollar, Digital is a more effective medium for delivering the target audience ads in their preferred language than any other major Paid Media option on the table for campaigns. 


Compare Digital to:
Phones and Mail: These can both target the voter file, but they don’t have the ability to let the audience member self-select their preferred language.  Phone + mail practitioners have to make educated guesses as to the language preferences of each person they target.

Television: The traditional King of Paid Media can serve ads in the preferred language of their target audience by matching the language of the channel they are targeting, but, outside of a limited number of Connected TV assets, they can’t target the voter file and are reliant on the less accurate Direct Buy Methodology for purchasing advertising.


This same Digital targeting methodology is available for other languages as well – we’ve targeted voters with Mandarin ads in New York City, Russian ads in Sunny Isles Beach, and Creole ads in Miami.

Sharing Some Hard-Earned Spanish Language Digital Best Practices

Since launching in 2019, COMPETE has been fortunate enough to do much of our work in races with high Hispanic voter density – Miami-Dade County in Florida, California’s Central Valley, and a few different places in Texas. In 2020, we ran ads in both English and Spanish for nearly 40% of our book of business. This has given us the opportunity to try lots of different advertising techniques with Spanish language voting populations. Here are some of the best practices we’ve learned that we think are key to deploying successful multilingual Digital campaigns:

  • Local dialect is really, really important.  Spanish voters are not a monolithic group; Their dialect varies greatly from region to region. Miami-Dade alone has multiple different Spanish dialects that should be taken into account. Take it from us: You don’t want to use a Central Valley, California voice artist for an ad that will mostly be served to Cubans in Miami-Dade. Make sure your translator and VO talent match the dialect of the target audience.
  • Consider Spanish language ads when 10%+ of your target audience is Spanish speaking. This is a loose rule we use for the tipping point at which it becomes worth it to strongly consider making Spanish language ads. The Digital platforms themselves don’t charge you an additional fee for running Spanish language ads. In fact, we often see Spanish language inventory cost 20% or so less than English ad inventory (this is because, generally, corporate America values Spanish speaking consumers less than English speaking consumers, and therefore bid less to serve them ads). However, you will likely pay service providers like COMPETE additional fees for the additional set up time to run a Spanish language campaign and/or making Spanish creative assets. The 10%+ number is the point at which we think the Spanish language audience is large enough to break off some of your budget to pay the extra fees it will cost to make and serve Spanish language ads.  Note that this is a very loose estimate and subject to change based on other factors in your campaign (Audience size, overall budget, etc.).  For campaigns with smaller budgets + target audiences, the tipping point is likely to be well above 10%.  For campaigns with large budgets + target audiences, it may be much less than 10%.
  • Bilingual ads may be more effective than pure Spanish ads with Spanish speaking voters.  Much of the Hispanic voter population is more bilingual than purely Spanish speaking, and we’ve seen recent research suggesting the majority of these folks may be more receptive to ads that are a mix of English and Spanish instead of one or the other. You don’t have to have your non-Spanish speaking candidate try to stumble through delivering lines in Spanish after all! A mix of Spanish voice-over plus an English language line or two from the candidate may suffice. We have begun implementing this optimization for many of our 2022 Spanish language ads.
COMPETE wins Three Pollies and Two Reeds
Graphic of COMPETEY with 3 Pollies from AAPC

Transitioning to a new topic: The time of year when political consultants give themselves trophies has come and gone, and COMPETE was honored to receive five total awards from the biggest associations in the industry! Here’s what we won and the work that helped us take it home:


AAPC Pollie Awards

  1. Statewide Ballot Initiative – NoOnProp119.com

  2. Digital Public Affairs – SolarRightsAlliance.com campaign to save California solar (Case study on our work here!)

  3. Best Use of Oppo Research – Anti-Militia Board of Education Slate


Campaigns and Elections Reeds Awards

  1. Best Villain in an Online Video

  2. Best Education Focused Online VIdeo


Both for our Anti-Militia Board of Education Slate ad, the first one from our COMPETE 2021 Attack Reel

Thank you for reading!  Want to learn more about language targeting for Digital ads? Or how COMPETE’s award winning team can help you harness the internet to win your upcoming campaign? Contact me at the info below.

Zach Mandelblatt

Skip to content