Samba TV : Voters Becoming Harder to Reach with Political Advertising

Samba TV : Voters Becoming Harder to Reach with Political Advertising

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A recently released report from Samba TV and global research firm HarrisX predicts that voting blocks in the Gen Z and Millennials cohorts will be very hard to reach with political advertising next year.

The Guide to Political Advertising: 2024 Report, the culmination of an analysis from a survey and proprietary data from Samba TV, a leading provider of TV technology for audience data and omni-screen measurement, is pertinent to political campaign advertisers in terms of targeting and measurement.

Samba TV co-founder and CEO Ashwin Navin said the media marketplace anticipates a record-breaking $10 billion in political advertising spending for the 2024 U.S. elections. To date, the biggest political advertising spend was in 2022 mid-terms with an $8.5 billion spend.

“Candidates, campaign managers, PACs, and other stakeholders will have to be more measured in the way they use their budgets across traditional linear advertising as well as streaming TV, social, and digital channels to effectively appeal to voters who are more fragmented than ever in their viewing behaviors,” Samba TV’s Navin said in a statement.

The data is based on Samba TV’s first-party automatic content-recognition data and two surveys with HarrisX whose respondents was composed of U.S. adults (one conducted among 2,507 adults in August 2023 and one among 1,004 voters in November). The results indicate that candidates may need to work harder than usual to find issues that resonate with voters and reach them on the right platforms.

The sampling margin of error of this poll is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Across both surveys, the results reflect a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. Results were weighted for age, gender, region, race / ethnicity, income, mobile carrier, streaming subscriptions, and party ID where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

Pointing to dwindling trust in traditional media among the U.S. populace, Navin still expects traditional political advertising channels such as TV and out-of-home to remain essential for reaching voters.

Even though broadcast and cable TV are the top places people get news, respondents indicated they are less trusting of the news they get on TV than what they hear from family and friends, according to the report. Another 31% said they trust news from family and friends, compared with 28% trusting broadcast TV and 24% trusting cable TV.

“The 2024 election will demand that campaigns incorporate rigorous targeting and measurement strategies to prevent oversaturation,” Navin added. “Our data shows that 41% of undecided or dissatisfied voters claimed their perception of a candidate or issue would likely worsen upon seeing an ad repeated too frequently within a month.”

Some of the key findings from the report are as follows:

  • Broadcast and cable TV are still the top sources for news, yet 53% of respondents identifying as independent voters do not have cable.
  • Of the survey respondents, 41% said they get their news from streaming platforms, and a whopping 54% of millennials said they get their news that way.
  • The proportion of voters who have seen political ads via streaming has almost doubled since August when the first part of the study was conducted; that is up from 14% to 27%. This shift is particularly high among Millennials (34%, up from 18%).
  • Viewership for the first GOP debate over-indexed heavily with older households, while Millennial viewers under-indexed.
  • 56% of baby boomers have seen “a lot” or “some” political ads, compared to just 46% for both Millennial and Gen Z voters.
  • Results from the study indicate that voters do not trust social media to provide reliable coverage of current events; just 13% said they trust social media for reliable coverage, and only 7% of undecided / dissatisfied voters do.
  • Republicans trusted social media to provide reliable coverage slightly less than Democrats (12% vs. 15%).
  • While 54% of voters think social media companies should allow political ads on their platforms, only 44% of undecided / dissatisfied voters agree.


The main issues at stake also differed along party lines, according to the study. Republicans listed immigration is the number one issue of concern, followed by inflation, the economy, and jobs. Democrats listed inflation as the number one issue of concern, followed by gun regulation, and healthcare.

Voters identifying as undecided or dissatisfied cited top issues that aligned more closely to those of Republicans.

As always, all eyes will be on the swing states. The data analysis indicated voters in said states showing stable interest in the early GOP debates, with two exceptions: Wisconsin, which saw the largest drop in viewership levels between the first two debates, over-indexing on viewership of the first debate by 23%, compared to the rest of the U.S.

Georgia under-indexed most dramatically on viewership of both debates compared to the rest of the U.S., under-indexing on the first debate by -14% and the second debate by -19%.

In addition, Arizona viewership dipped slightly from the first to second debate (going from an over-index of 9% to 5%). Florida viewership went from an over-index of 33% to 27%).

Kathleen Sampey