2 min read

2022 = A Political Advertising Gauntlet

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Here we go again.

2022 has arrived, and it’s an even-numbered year which means we will be inundated with political advertising. Whatever you think about that personally, it’s a big potential problem for traditional marketers, who fear their strategic plans and hoped-for results will be smothered by billion-dollar political placements.

Concerns are well-founded. Nationally, political ad spending 10 years ago was in the $4 billion range. This year, it is expected to reach $7.8 billion. Sure, ad prices are higher, but that’s still a whopping volume increase, especially for a midterm election year. Broadcast TV (especially local market placements) is still expected to snare about half that spend, followed by:

  • Cable/satellite TV
  • Digital (Facebook and Google) advertising
  • Radio
  • OTT-CTV (non-subscription and connected TV services). Digital TV (CTV) is the new darling, due to stricter online privacy requirements -- one study suggests political advertisers will spend more on this channel than desktop, mobile, and tablet ads combined.

You get the picture, and it’s not pretty. The more crowded the field gets, the more likely your advertising could be crowded out – or adversely affected.

Out of home brings a breath of fresh air

Fortunately, incorporating OOH advertising into your marketing mix can reduce the pressure and associated problems of political advertising while increasing your overall ad reach, impact, response, and ROI.

OOH is:

  • Flexible
  • Highly creative
  • Irresistibly eye-catching
  • Concise and memorable
  • Locally targetable
  • Contextually relevant
  • Measurable and attributable

And it stands out because it stands alone. Dynamic or static, indoors or out, your message greets your target audience where they are and as they’re moving from place to place.

That’s good to know because here’s what you’re up against from political advertisers:

  • Lack of availability, thanks to increased demand, especially if you wait to book space. (Broadcasters have finite time slots available and are required to accept all political advertising or none at all.)
  • Higher ad prices, thanks to election-year demand, especially for media channels with limited availability.
  • Overcrowding on social media and other digital channels. (Cable, satellite and digital platforms can accept whatever ads they want and as many as they want.)
  • Undesirable milieu. You can’t control whose ad appears before or after yours or which ads appear all around yours. Viewers may understand that on some subconscious level, but the reality is that negative or downright offensive political ads could surround your message with content users want to actively avoid. That will water down your presence and further erode your actual reach and effectiveness.

Pols, PACs, and special interest groups

It’s not only candidates themselves who are grabbing up advertising placements. Political action committees and other groups will be messaging on behalf of (or against) candidates, parties, ballot measures and more.

Location, location …

The biggest advertising squeeze will come in those states/markets where the political stakes are highest, whether the race/issue is national, regional, or strictly local.

The worst (for traditional marketers) states in 2022?

  • Pennsylvania
  • Florida
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Wisconsin
  • Nevada
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • California

However, campaign spending also depends on shifting political winds. If winning begins to look doubtful, dollars may shift to another more promising locale. This could free up inventory, which might be nice. However, if a race heats up, additional spending will follow, further tightening inventory. This uncertainty can also play havoc with your marketing plans. Sure, you can get make-goods for bumped TV or radio commercials, but who cares if your marketing campaign ends before replacement time becomes available?

Win with OOH in 2022!

Our comprehensive playbook series offers impressive stats and how-to details to transform your brand marketing with OOH, despite the vagaries of political advertising. Our OneScreen.ai team is here to help, too, with answers to your questions and solid advice from industry folks who have the inside track on out-of-home.

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