January to March of 2016 saw more than $280 million dollars in political spending for the upcoming presidential election. Experts at Borrell Associates are now forecasting that there will be an extra $357 million to spend before all is said and done.
Media buyers that have been in the game at least 4 years, and have bought in at least one presidential election year have seen the affects of election spends. Most ad dollars from presidential hopeful campaigns are typically allocated to television. Buyers have trained themselves to prepare for “political rates” and conditioned clients to hear about pre-empts for spots placed close to the election window.
Historically, traditional television has seen the majority of these political dollars. This year, however, Borrell Associates are predicting that only half of the upcoming bulk spend will land in this media type; further claiming that cable, online and radio will see the other half of the dollars.
This shift can be attributed to a number of reasons: the dwindling power of TV, the expanse of digital use, and the candidates themselves that appear to be the front-runners in the election. Donald Trump has a huge voice in social media. Also, his presence in the entertainment universe over the past decade has warranted a lot of earned media for his campaign. Hillary Clinton has been online promoting her brand for years. These existing social presences along with other prior efforts seem to make digital spending a no-brainer from a media buyer’s perspective.
It will be interesting to watch how the campaigns continue. There are no guarantees. We cannot be sure where the dollars will go as we cannot be sure of how the candidates will try to further their messaging. Like everything else with politics, we can only wait and see. One thing all media buyers can hope for is that maybe, just maybe we won’t need to worry about adjusting budgets and approving never-ending make goods this year after all!