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the hands of decision makers, then ask them to take action by
voting for their candidate or initiative.
In addition to ratings, impressions, reach, and frequency,
political and issue advertisers need to think of results in terms
of traditional DR cost-per metrics. Basically, they need to de-
termine how much can they “profitably” spend on obtaining a
single vote for their cause, and then model the entire process.
Most projections show 2016 will be the most
expensive campaign season ever. While those
record numbers include TV, the expansion
of digital advertising will be even more
powerful. What effects will this massive
Abed Abusaleh, Havas Edge: Nationally, the full impact won’t be
felt until after the Republican and Democratic conventions.
Locally, major battleground states like Ohio, Florida, Nevada,
Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, Missouri, and Michigan
will see extremely tight inventory levels starting in the fall. Unless a major candidate or PAC creates long-form content, the
impact will only be felt on short-form.
Than Merrill, FortuneBuilders.com: Some estimates place political
ad spending for the upcoming presidential election somewhere
around $6 billion. Such a lofty expenditure will likely resonate
on a local level, impacting the advertising budget of businesses
In particular, one fundamental principal is expected to render our previous expectations on advertising spending moot:
supply and demand. There is no reason to believe local broadcast inventory won’t be tight because of the ads that are going
to run during the 2016 presidential election. Remnant media
— often the cheaper media available because it is pre-emptible
— will be particularly hard hit in swing states.
Some experts have already predicted that running a local
television ad will cost 13 percent more than this time last year.
Digital advertising, on the other hand, will remain relatively
unscathed, as “online real estate” is vastly abundant. While not
nearly as inflated as its television counterpart, online videos are
expected to cost a modest 1 percent more than last year.
Garnett: When we look back at past political seasons, we should
conclude that campaigns are already spending so much that
with every additional dollar they’re getting less and less. The
shift from “not advertising” to “advertising” can have huge impact. But increased spending eventually saturates the ad market
so it ends up taking $1 million of advertising to get the improvement you used to get from $100,000.
Goldstein: In 2008, Barack Obama was the first national candidate to successfully use digital media as an essential component
of his grass-roots campaign. Since then, the growth of social
media has been exponential as brand marketers have discovered
how powerful a tool social media can be for increasing consumer
engagement. We can expect the candidates to take a page out of
the brands’ playbooks and that social media will pay as powerful
a role in this election as traditional broadcast advertising.
Koeppel: Massive political spending will create more clutter and
competition for the consumer’s attention, but I suspect voters
will grow tired of the ceaseless barrage of political messaging.
There have been more debates and more focus on this presidential election cycle than ever before, owing no doubt in part
to Donald Trump’s colorful candidacy. The real question is: will
the American voter grow weary of it all as the election cycle
In terms of available inventory, local campaigns for candidates and initiatives will likely drive up rates for airtime and create inventory shortages in individual markets. On the national
level, PACs will spend so-called soft money on lightning-rod
issues such as gun control, abortion, and Supreme Court assignments in an effort to drive candidate support.
Lee: There will be fairly significant changes in availability and
rate structures of certain media throughout the political window. We have already begun to see a decline in inventory and
an increase in rates across the news networks. And, overall,
national media will be impacted during key time periods — e.g.,
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