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Advertisers, Are You Ready for This Year’s Election Cycle?

Political advertisers are forecasted to spend over $12 billion across all channels during the 2024 election cycle, the most in United States history, according to the latest figures from eMarketer. Due to the broad nature of political messaging, a significant portion of that spend is predicted to be funneled into linear TV advertising, where audiences are wide and all-encompassing.

This poses a significant question to advertisers: are you prepared for the effects that this year’s election has on your pre-existing media plans? As the competition for linear spots in late 2024 continues to increase, advertisers should look to scale alternative channels such as Connected TV (CTV) to avoid dark periods in their marketing efforts.

Let’s take a deeper look at the three key trends that advertisers are facing this election cycle.

Political Advertising’s Historical Focus on Linear TV

In addition to the divisive choice for president, there are 33 U.S. Senate races, 14 state gubernatorial elections and 435 congressional seats up for grabs. Most of these politicians will focus their advertising efforts on local broadcast TV where viewers tend to be older, more engaged with local politics, and as a result, more likely to vote.

There is also a “we’ve always done things this way” mentality endemic to political advertising, and campaigns often stick with the linear TV advertising that they know. While overall trends in the advertising industry show a growing shift from linear TV to CTV and streaming, political advertisers still believe that local TV is more efficient for disseminating the messages and platform of a politician’s campaign as quickly as possible.

Political Advertisers Take Priority

As many TV companies and local networks anticipate a busy and chaotic election cycle, they begin setting aside a large number of spots for political advertisers. These campaigns are historically given priority for TV placement, resulting in non-political advertisers being bumped to later months with more ad space. This presents a significant challenge for verticals such as retail, CPG and entertainment, who rely on linear TV advertising as part of their broader media plans to promote timely initiatives and offerings.

These advertisers are facing a Catch-22: they must choose between paying a premium price for spots or going dark on linear until after the election. Advertisers should begin planning for the upcoming political climate and exploring alternative channels, such as CTV, to achieve lower CPMs and greater return on ad spend (ROAS).

CTV Shines Through

Even though views on streaming services surpassed those of broadcast and cable TV for the first time in 2023, local TV is often still favored by political campaigners. This presents an opportunity for non-political advertisers to effectively shift their linear-planned dollars to CTV campaigns and drive better reach and measurable ad performance than traditional linear buys. And, through the activation of a brand’s first-party data, CTV placements provide advertisers with more control in targeting and reporting than Linear TV.

Now is the time to act. Doing nothing risks getting your campaigns bumped and your brand going dark during the highly coveted holiday shopping season. Talk to your advertising partners today and take control of your schedule for the fall of 2024.

Investing in CTV is the solution for all advertisers — political and non-political — far beyond the election this fall. Marketers should rise to the moment, capitalize on these massive tailwinds behind CTV to accelerate brand growth and efficiently execute their KPIs for the coming year.





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