A recent report from eMarketer found that political ad spend will reach $6.89 billion in the 2019/2020 election period. This cycle’s spending is 63.3% higher than spend in the 2015/2016 season, showcasing a significant uptick in competition for brand marketers. That said, political advertisers are becoming savvier, expanding their breadth and scale into additional channels and further encroaching on brands’ digital bread and butter.
Here are a few ways political ad spend will impact brand marketers’ approach and how they can adjust their strategies so they don’t lose momentum in the coming months.
Early trends in consumer coronavirus behavior indicate that the already fast-growing e-commerce sector may see an added boost over the next few months as people avoid in-door shopping to practice social distancing during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Media and marketing services firm ENGINE is conducting 1,000-person online surveys of representative samples of US consumers every few days to gauge changes in consumer sentiment and behavior as the quickly accelerating outbreak develops. The firm found that while 31% of consumers said they were increasing their online shopping in surveys conducted March 13-15 and 16-17, 42% said the same March 20-22, a 35% increase.
In the wake of Cambridge Analytica and privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA, the advertising landscape has changed, as have consumers’ perceptions about data collection and privacy. Candidates still need ways to reach their target audience effectively, and they should do so while being mindful of compliance issues and Americans’ privacy concerns.
The 2019-2020 advertising cycle will generate an estimated $6 billion in political media spending, $1.6 billion of which will be spent on digital video, according to Politico’s spending projections. This is up from $0.74 billion on digital video in 2018, so we are talking exponential growth. Many candidates will wash their hands of marketing decisions, entrusting their staff and partners to decide how to best use their campaign dollars. But candidates should use their advertising strategies to make a political statement—to show voters they care about ethical data practices.
In a time of unprecedented political partisanship, the risks and rewards of corporate political messaging are amplified. Viral marketing strategies including Nike’s partnership with racial justice activist and football star Colin Kaepernick, Gillette’s toxic masculinity ad, and Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBTQ stances rally political sympathizers to a brand’s side and alienate ideological foes.
Street Fight checked in with Jen Capstraw, director of strategic insights and evangelism at growth marketing company Iterable, to get a sense of how significant the benefits and drawbacks of political branding are, which ideological direction political ads are predominantly taking, and how strong the evidence is for the efficacy of partisan messaging.
If brand safety in the 2020 election season does not immediately seem concerning, consider the following: You’re an advertiser hoping to run digital ads for your advertising tech solution. You pay a publisher with huge traffic big money to score impressions on its platform. But as soon as a Democratic voter navigates to the site and sees your ad, along with it pops up a big Trump ad making inflammatory claims about Biden. The web surfer navigates away from the site. Who wins?