Monetization Tools & Tech

Political Advertising: Coming Soon to a Screen Near You

sovrnmarketing // September 18, 2015


Nerd Quiz: What do US Presidents Calvin Coolridge, Dwight Eisenhower, and Barack Obama all have in common?


Answer: They each broke ground on new forms of political advertising:  Coolridge used Radio in 1924, Eisenhower used TV in 1952, and Obama used Digital in 2010.

Politics and advertising have a long relationship. Even back in the 1800s, candidates were using posters and flyers to boost their chances.  Since then, each election cycle features new tactics, as presidential candidates seek to gain an edge. 2016 promises to be a bumper year for political advertising, as $11.4B is expected to be spent during this election.

[Caption: 1840 Election Poster for William Harrison, 9th US President]

Online publishers in particular can expect a great year. Thanks to the impact of online campaigns in 2010, digital advertising is the fastest growing ad category for political campaigns. Roughly $1B will be spent on digital political ads in 2016, a 500% increase from 2012!!! (Source: Borrell Associates). To put this into perspective, while TV ad spending will reach $4.4B, it’s growing at a snail like 16% a year (source: Kanter Media).

political advertising spend

So when is the money train a’coming, I hear you say.  It’s likely that you’re seeing a small amount of political advertising right now, but like any time sensitive event, expect the lion’s share a few weeks before the actual election.
Want proof of this? According to Google Trends, there was a huge spike in search traffic for Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in Oct 2012.  No doubt advertisers will time their spend to co-incide with this.

political advertising keyword search

So whether you’re a small blogger or a large publisher, political advertising will be big effect on your ad monetization, potentially adding more competition for each ad impression and so increasing average CPMs. With so much opportunity, we’re actively working on solutions to help publishers benefit from the increased demand from this category. Watch this space for more information in the coming months.

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