Is Political Advertising Reshaping Digital Marketing Or Vice Versa

Is Political Advertising Reshaping Digital Marketing Or Vice Versa?


Media buyers anticipate a tumultuous third quarter of 2022 as political advertising dollars pour into various advertising channels, serving political party platforms via ads to digital users. But will media buyers see the same trend this time around?

Digital channels have siphoned political advertising dollars, depleting some of the budgets from print, direct mail, radio, and other traditional promotions. As election season heightens, political ads have been flying at an unprecedented rate. As of August, $3.6 billion was spent on campaign ad elections and is at pace to reach projected spending exceeding $9 billion.

2022 Political Advertising Spend Forecast

With investment set to pour into Facebook and YouTube marketplaces, marketers outside the political spectrum should consider turning their budgets to scaling effective channels in the coming months. 2022 political ad investment is forecasted to surpass the previous presidential election season. TikTok has excluded itself from the political advertising discussion, making them less susceptible to auction volatility.

In 2018 and 2020, midterm elections saw a jump in ad revenue following the Presidential election. Advertising volume is up by 50% during the 2018 midterm elections and a forecasted 7% this year. But with the trend of this electoral money injected into the industry, the 2024 presidential election cycle will be an exciting year for paid social and digital platforms.

Related article: Uncompromised Digital Ad Growth: Even After the Most Expensive Election Cycle

Political Campaigns and Primary Advertising Channels

Primary Political Ads Platforms

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google Display Network, Google Search, DSP, and streaming platforms are influential vehicles for political and public relations strategies. The campaign objective relies on the size of the screen consumers are using. Mobile devices work best on one-to-one targeting, but larger screens and longer-form content are for more dynamic messaging. 

TV still won the battle of the screens in this year’s election. Linear TV is still significant in reaching out to household viewers. With the recent rise of CTV, media buyers are leveraging digital streaming by using it as an extension of the traditional tube. 

Despite the massive market during elections, not all social networks are saying yes to it. Media giants have an enormous responsibility to deliver transparent and fair advertising with the opportunity presented to them.

Hence, advertisers face a new reality as digital privacy standards change how they use social media to target voters.

Related Article: After Upfronts, YouTube CTV Should Be Top of Mind

Social Media Platforms’ Election Restrictions

Full breakdown of social media platforms political advertising policies

Political advertising spending has migrated from linear TV to digital and streaming platforms. Social media platforms like TikTok have historically avoided political advertising. The famed short for video wanted to eliminate the risks associated with the potential spread of misinformation and compromising the safety of advertisers. Google and Meta, on the other hand, allow political advertising with restrictions.

Closing 2021, Facebook announced that they would eliminate highly personalized ad messaging surrounding sensitive issues, including politics, social issues, and hundreds of similar topics. In the process, Meta removed detailed targeting to protect platform users from abusive politicians exploiting the platform.

Similar to Meta, Google promotes responsible election campaigns. As part of this advocacy, YouTube banned using Masthead ads associated with politics and elections but has allowed election ads on the video feed with restrictions. The recent Google Political Content Policy update will enable consumers to trace the viewed content’s origin easily. 

Related article: Rise of Digital Assets: NFT Advertising Guide for Brands and Creators


Meta in Midterm Elections 2022

Meta has become an indispensable tool for politicians for years. The giant social company has been considered the most significant player in the political advertising scene.

However, political media buyers are cutting back on their spending on the platform during the 2022 midterm elections. Last year’s Apple’s privacy changes have continually haunted them in “haunting” target relevant voters. 

With Facebook still not getting over the hump of the removal of third-party data, media buyers are jumping off the platform with their money to find a greener advertising pasteur. While all of these challenges are happening, the growth of connected TV is commanding more political ad spending than ever before.

Political campaigns and Growth of Connected TV

According to AdImpact, 44% of the $700 million spent on digital political and issue ads in 2022 has gone to Connected TVs. This year, CTV will be worth $1.5 billion—three times as much as it was in 2018. ​Ultimately, advertisers are finding that the data-driven targeting and large audience size of Connected TV make it an effective channel for reaching voters before election day.

Why are political advertisers choosing Connected TV ads? 

  • Activate audience: As political advertisers move money away from platforms struggling with third-party data, Connected TV ad has been the top substitute. Growing CTV users and new ad units have bolstered ad effectiveness.
  • Optimize reach, targeting, and cost: CTV allows advertisers to reach target audiences more efficiently and at a lower cost than traditional linear TV. 
  • Measure and iterate: YouTube CTV enables buyers to understand KPI during in-flight or post-campaign.

Related article: Will the Convergence of Linear and Connected TV Merge Media Buying Team?

How do you manage social media advertising campaigns during the election period?

The volatility during the campaign phase is evident given the billions of advertising dollars that go into digital channels. Political parties and candidates will fight for advertising spots, resulting in higher-than-expected ad spending. In addition, Back-To-School campaigns have overlapped the recent month, making the auction busier than in earlier quarters.

2022 YouTube Instream Skippable CPV

As the team dives into YouTube Instream Skippable data, quarterly CPV has steadily improved following the 4th quarter of 2021. Our proprietary tools adapt to volatility and identify opportunities based on multiple factors. 

As Connected TV is getting more attention during this election season, Strike has optimized on smartphone devices. For YouTube campaigns leveraging more views, mobile devices drove efficiency more than others. Optimizing based on device performance is one way to keep costs low

Media buyers may consider shifting ad budgets to better-performing platforms. Media buyers may consider shifting ad budgets to better-performing platforms. With TikTok turning heads away from political advertising and an expected bulk-up of political ad spending towards Meta and Google from September to early November, media buyers may find more efficiencies on TikTok.


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