Navigating the Media Maze in a Political Year

Navigating the Media Maze in a Political Year
Danielle Dobinson
Navigating the Media Maze in a Political Year
Bill Brassine
Navigating the Media Maze in a Political Year

It's no secret 2024 is a big year for politics and it will affect all parts of media with an estimated 30% increase in spending compared to 2020 ($9 billion to at least $11 billion). We need to be ready to adapt on the fly for our clients. There are many different strategies we use to plan our media that help our clients stay visible, even when political campaigns take over popular media outlets. We need to maintain a presence, while being careful not to overspend for those impressions.

The Impact of Political Campaigns on Media

The impact of political campaigns on media is complicated and significant. One of the most immediate effects is the increase in advertising rates. As political campaigns ramp up their advertising efforts, the demand for ad space increases, driving up the cost. This is further intensified by the dominance of media channels by political campaigns, which leads to limited inventory for other advertisers.

It is estimated that 75% of the Presidential General Election ad spending will be concentrated in local markets across seven key battleground states: Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, and Wisconsin. Media buyers with campaigns planned in these markets need to buckle up and brace for a wild ride throughout 2024. Ohio and Florida are also on the fringe of swing-state status and will face additional media pressures during the election cycle.

We’ve gained valuable local insights into the Cincinnati market, and it is expected to be a record-breaking year in political media spending. An impressive sum of over $40 million has already been committed to spot television and cable advertising in Q3/Q4. Remarkably, this figure does not even account for any potential presidential ad campaigns. Ohio, a pivotal battleground state in the upcoming Senate election, is of particular interest. The Democratic Party’s strategy hinges on securing victories in both Ohio and Montana. As the election window approaches, we anticipate a period of heightened intensity and unpredictability. Continue reading to gain insight on how we plan to manage the political chaos on a local level.

Strategies for Staying Visible

It’s crucial to strategize effectively to maintain visibility. One approach is to utilize sponsorships or packages, such as those offered during the Olympics, seasonal sports, and other non-political events to maintain a media presence. These are often booked early on, have “locked in” rates, and are not offered to political advertisers. You may also want to consider “laying low” during peak political periods. This approach can prevent your ads from being displaced, help manage spending, and avoid potential association with negative sentiments. The general election window runs from 9/7 – 11/5 with 50% of political ads running in the 30 days leading up to the election and another 25% in the 10 days prior. Avoiding these periods can help mitigate the impact of heightened ad competition and cost spikes.

Given that linear TV/Cable, CTV, and radio will be the most saturated with political messaging, brands may want to consider expanding advertising beyond these mediums and diversifying their media strategy throughout the entire year.

Lastly, leveraging relationships with local media partners can provide valuable insights into the competitive landscape and offer useful advice for navigating the political ad season. By adopting these strategies, you can ensure your clients' ads remain visible and impactful, even amidst the political frenzy.

Looking Ahead

Looking ahead, the media landscape post-2024 election is likely to continue evolving. The rise of digital platforms and the shift in consumer behavior towards online content consumption are trends that are expected to continue. Political campaigns will increasingly leverage these platforms, further changing the dynamics of media advertising.

Adapting to these changes requires a proactive and flexible approach. It’s important to stay informed about emerging trends and technologies in the media industry. Regularly reassessing and updating your media strategies can help ensure they remain effective in the changing landscape. Again, fostering strong relationships with media partners can provide valuable insights and opportunities for collaboration. As we navigate the post-2024 election media landscape, the key will be to embrace change and view it as an opportunity for growth and innovation.