Electoral spending data from Facebook and Google was certainly the main story last cycle. These platforms continue to be critical to modern campaigns in both fundraising and get out the vote efforts. But this election cycle, we are paying close attention to an emerging, increasingly important space. As the American electorate diversifies its screen consumption habits, we’re seeing huge growth in political spending on Connected TV. Consequently, we, in collaboration with CrossScreen Media, are excited to forecast CTV expenditures for the first time. Our political projections expect them to reach $1.5B, out of a total of the $9B anticipated.
But that isn’t to discount the importance of traditional media in a given election. As with past cycles, we expect broadcast to capture the lion’s share of spending this cycle. Even though candidates now have a wide array of options for reaching voters, we still see candidates consistently turning to broadcast tv in the final months of an election. These persuasion-style ads are blasted across relevant markets, and often provide candidates with a good amount of earned media as well. Broadcast ads from last year’s presidential race regularly featured on late-night shows and primetime news, providing additional reach and frequency for campaigns.
What is driving this explosive growth? In recent years, we’ve seen the widespread use of Facebook as a fundraising tool to allow campaigns to quickly and easily reach a highly polarized electorate. This, combined with the rise of easy online donation tools such as ActBlue and WinRed, has let candidates and issue groups fundraise with greater ease than ever before.
With more cash on hand, candidates have the flexibility to spend earlier compared to past cycles, utilize expanded platforms, and generally deploy these cash reserves with greater breadth and precision. In tandem with the growth in social media and the continued polarization of the electorate, we’ve also seen the election cycle lengthen. In recent years, many electoral competitions start more than a year out from election day, from presidential to down ballot races.