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Navigating Advertising in an Election Year

Campaigns, Strategy

Most Americans are familiar with political ads filling our airways during an election cycle. And with a presidential election this year, the advertising market is on track to be more crowded with political spending than ever before. Research firm Insider Intelligence predicts that U.S. political ad spending in 2024 will increase by nearly a third over the previous presidential election year. That equates to around $12.32 billion in ad spending. With all of those ads pouring into the market, how should the average business approach advertising through the fall? Let’s take a deeper dive into which channels will be most affected and how to proceed in an overwhelmingly busy advertising climate.

What is affected?

The biggest effects of the stream of political ads will be felt by businesses who advertise on television. 71.9% of this year’s political ad spending will be allocated for traditional media – most of that being television (in order: broadcast, cable news and CTV/OTT). The remaining 28.1% of spending will be going toward digital ads, which will contribute to a rise in advertising costs on digital platforms.

What should you do?

Brace for disruptions

First and foremost, be aware that political ads could disrupt your business as usual this year. The amount of disruption largely depends on where you advertise and where you live. Businesses that advertise the most on television, on Facebook or who market to those in election battleground states will likely see the most disruption. As early as March we’ve already seen clients have TV spots bumped for political ads.

On the digital side, expect your CPMs to rise as we get closer to the election and more and more ads are competing for the same audience and inventory. At the height of election season (the month of October, early November) you might even want to pause your TV and digital ads to preserve your budget.

Edit your creative

With all the political messaging swirling around, most people are going to have political ad fatigue. Be a bright spot in their day with ad creative that is completely different from what the campaigns are doing. Stay away from any political messages and focus on what unites rather than what divides. If it suits your brand, take a light-hearted tone, use bright colors, promote a happy message. This is a great way to stand out and get your brand noticed in a noisy advertising environment.

Turn to owned channels

While the paid media space is so crowded, it’s a great time to turn toward your owned channels including email and blogs. Owned channels are largely insulated from the world outside your brand. Create great content on your blog and share it directly through your email list to help stay top of mind with your loyal customers during the political frenzy.

While the advertising market heads into the most hectic election season yet, it is possible to maintain your relevance and even be a reprieve for consumers with creative planning. If you want help with your advertising strategy for the rest of the year or beyond, reach out to our team.