Wednesday, September 18th 2019

Sep 18, 2019

The Election Effect


Republican or Democrat, one thing is true moving into the 2020 election year, advertising space is going to be more limited as politicians put big money into advertising inventory on broadcast TV, digital, and cable television. Group M estimates that spending by politicians and their campaigns will reach $10 billion in 2020. This is up 59 percent from 2016.

I think political advertising is going to get wise to the trends and say hello to digital, influencers, radio, and OTT. The past presidential victories show that a non-traditional media mix has led to political victory. No other factors considered, the media spend can predict how specific demographics will vote.

Take these previous spends from candidates for example:
· In 2016, the Clinton Campaign spent only 6 percent of its media budget on digital.
· In 2016, the Sanders Campaign spent 25 percent of its media budget on digital.
· In 2016, the Trump Campaign spent more than 40 percent of its ad budget on digital.
· In 2012, Obama spent $52 million for digital ads, almost double the digital spend of Mitt Romney's Campaign.

Politicians can hyper-target their campaigns to speak to a specific audience about a specific issue.

From past trends, we can assume that candidates will push even more dollars into digital, local cable, and broadcast media. All of these political dollars will funnel into traditional advertiser's media slots, increasing demand and decreasing availability of prime television and digital placements.

As advertisers, we have two choices, lean into the crowded space and take advantage of the eyeballs that a political cycle can guarantee. On Election Day itself, viewers watch an average of 5 hours and 30 minutes of broadcast television (up 12 percent from a typical day.) Or we can choose to heavy-up before and/or after the bulk of politicians spend their media dollars. More than 50 percent of political advertising is estimated to occur between Labor Day and Election Day, Nov. 3rd.

The results of the election year will affect policy and spark discourse between left and right, as always, but as advertising professionals, we can use the election cycle as a study in media and effectiveness.

Sources: Kantar Media, Nielsen

Arcana Academy is an independent advertising agency located in Los Angeles, CA.

Jay Josue is a designer and illustrator at Arcana Academy.

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