How Does Political Advertising Impact Your Ad Campaigns?

Political Advertising Campaign Impact

This certainly is a loaded question!   And, it depends on the State in which you live, the election – is it a primary, mid-term, general election year?  Are there some heavily contested races?  Is there a lot of issue money (PAC) being spent in your market?    To put this in perspective, we pulled 2022 mid-term election to visually show the upcoming elections by state from Wikipedia that we feel shows an understandable representation of the midterm election.

political advertising political advertising campaigns state political advertising

So, given the fact that there could be political pressure on existing inventory for all mediums, how do you decide if you want to get in the “advertising pool” and swim with all the additional advertising dollars being spent in the campaign period?   How do you avoid getting your commercials that were placed pre-empted?   What recourse do you have if your advertising is not running?   What mediums have the greatest amount of ad placements?   What programming and radio station formats are most targeted by political ads?  What is the “political window” and what does that mean?  This blog is meant to focus on answers to some of these questions.

What Mediums are Affected the Most

Kantar is one of the world’s leading data and insights company.   They provide projections on political advertising based on total funds raised.   For this midterm election, they are estimating a total spend of $7.8 billion for local broadcast television, cable, radio, digital and Over-The-Top (OTT – streaming).  As they state in their article on this subject, spending is based on the amount of money raised and the amount that is dedicated to paid media and they predict that $13 billion will be raised this year.   Their projections for the 2022 election year and comparing estimated spends to that of the previous mid-term election (Kantar article can be found at:

Medium 2022 Estimated Spend 2018 Spend
Broadcast TV $3.8 billion $3.05 billion
Cable TV/Satellite $1.4 billion $1.2 billion
Digital (FB/Google) $1.2 billion $900 million
Radio $215 million
OTT/CTV $1.2 billion

This information will allow us to look to strategies that might have fewer dollars being spent against a media.   In review of the above estimates, it shows that more than half of the projected spend to go against Broadcast TV and Cable.  Since advertising time is sold on supply and demand, the higher the demand, the higher the price to place the advertising.   We also know that areas such as news, sports, conservative/liberal talk shows will be the first types of programming secured by advertising agencies for political candidates.   Radio stations that skew older with their listening will also be a target, as the older demographic is most likely to vote in this mid-term year.  In our world issue campaigns (PAC) these organizations seem to have unlimited funds and will easily pay whatever it takes to get their message to the voters.   We have seen advertising time sell for more than ten times what we would normally pay on some political advertising campaigns.  As stated earlier, the spend is only limited by the amount of money that is raised.   While contributions to a political candidate are limited, PACs do not have a limit.

They list these states to have substantial political spends based on the data they see so far:

  • Pennsylvania
  • Florida
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Wisconsin

Business Advertising Strategies During Political Window

Walking through the political advertising maze with your media planner/buyer will be critical to the overall success of any campaign.   While some clients we may steer away for the political window, others don’t have a choice and must advertise during this time.   If you must market your products and services during this time, make sure your business has back up strategies that could be implemented so inventory on any medium become unavailable or unaffordable.


Advertising Impact Primary vs General Election

Pressure on advertising space will vary depending on the year as well as the state.   As an example, the Primary in Kansas will most likely have a large amount of political advertising dollars being spent to support or reject amending the Kansas Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion and that the state legislature has the authority to pass laws regarding abortion.  A “no” vote opposes amending the Kansas Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion and that the state legislature has the authority to pass laws regarding abortion, thereby maintaining the legal precedent established in Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt (2019) that there is a right to abortions in the Kansas Bill of Rights.

Political Advertising Consulting

If you are uncertain how to navigate the political advertising environment, contact us at 316-425-7065 to talk about how we can help you understand the best timing and marketing strategies for your business.