How the Election Might Have an effect on the Remainder of Your 2020 Advertising

In the last presidential election cycle of 2016, $10 billion was spent on political advertising across the U.S. But considering more than half of that is spent within the month leading up to the election, this can have a significant impact on marketing campaigns, especially for the brands that rely heavily on holiday sales. And when you consider that:

  • Digital is trending +200% cycle-over-cycle
  • The Covid-19 crisis is forcing more online campaigning
  • 50% of campaign media budgets in October will be spent on Facebook and Google
  • A majority of political spending will be spent in just a few key battleground states

It’s safe to say marketers are in uncharted territory.

Even with Mark Zuckerberg putting a halt on all new Facebook political ads, Facebook and Google will still be among the most expensive channels for advertisements.

Picking the advertising medium that will help marketers stand out among all of the noise and will deliver ROI will be crucial to surviving this year’s pre-holiday shopping season. And there are a few things marketers can do now to make the most of this time.

Rethink your TV spend

While politicians are pulling back from TV ads this year, $15 million is still expected to be invested in local TV with most of this being allocated to swing states. This means that marketers whose target audiences are primarily in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and so forth will be paying top dollar to run local TV advertisements.

Not to mention the rise in OTT landscape and consumption is rapidly expanding. Viewership for OTT is up 36%, which is largely due to the ramifications of the pandemic. When it comes to the election, experts are forecasting anywhere between $500 and $720 million in OTT/CTV spend. As a result, digital TV spend still might be astronomically high during the election.

Marketers should pause their TV spend, especially for ads in the swing states, and reallocate it into channels that will lead to conversions. For marketers that see the most value out of TV ads, consider investing in TV ads the week after the election. Ad rates for this timeframe are expected to be inexpensive.

Reallocate dollars to Instagram Stories

With 500 million users watching Instagram Stories everyday, it’s an essential channel for marketers to garner attention. Most interactions with stories happen before the user’s first scroll within the app, so it’s prime real estate for marketers.

Given that Instagram’s largest age demographic is between the ages of 18-24—the age group least likely to vote—political advertisements will be few and far between on this platform. This is a great medium for marketers to invest ad spend during the election season to continue to see ROI as we approach holiday shopping. Instagram ads are more effective now than ever as the platform evolves its shopping capabilities to generate sales for companies.

Invest in your owned channels

No matter where you allocate your ad spend during the election, you’re more than likely to see an increase in ad rates. With this in mind, marketers shouldn’t forget about investing in their owned channels, such as email and SMS. These channels allow brands to get directly in front of customers who have either previously bought from the company or have expressed interest in the brand.

As a bonus, the brands who treat their email and SMS campaigns for the entire month of November like it’s Black Friday will reap the biggest benefits. Plan out all of your promotions from the beginning of November through early December and promote them via email and SMS. Consumers are looking for those steep discounts and are more likely to buy if there is an incentive for them to do so.

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