Political ad spending may reach $11 billion in 2024, making it the most expensive political ad campaign season to date. With the stakes higher than ever before, candidates are vying for every available platform to convey their messages and rally support.
Gone are the days of relying solely on traditional mediums like television and radio. Political campaigns need to be more agile, data-driven, and personalized than ever before. In this post, we will review 5 key political ad trends shaping the 2024 election season.
The rise of programmatic advertising in the political sphere presents immense opportunities for highly targeted campaigns. By leveraging automated ad buying driven by data-centric algorithms, political advertisers can ensure their ads are delivered to the most relevant audiences at the most opportune time.
Utilizing vast amounts of voter data, programmatic platforms can customize ads to align with specific demographics, online behavior, and personal interests. This optimizes ad spend and fosters a deeper connection between the campaign message and potential voters. Programmatic’s real-time adaptability also allows campaigns to quickly pivot strategies in response to real-time feedback or evolving campaign narratives.
Example: In the 2022 Florida gubernatorial race, a campaign used programmatic advertising to target female voters aged 30-40 interested in educational reform. They tailored the candidate’s ad to highlight their commitment to improving schools, resulting in a noticeable uptick in engagement and support from this demographic.
As technology continues to evolve, so will the capabilities of programmatic platforms. The future promises even more refined targeting, broader reach, and increasingly efficient campaign strategies.
As audiences increasingly opt for streaming services over traditional cable, political advertisers have recognized the need to adapt. CTV and OTT platforms offer unparalleled reach, extending to a variety of devices within a household, from smart TVs to handheld tablets.
And unlike traditional broadcast methods, CTV advertising allows for more granular targeting. It’s not just about reaching a broad audience; it’s about reaching the right one. By analyzing viewer behavior, interests, and even geographical data, political advertisers can craft campaigns that resonate with specific voter groups, ensuring that every ad displayed is as relevant and impactful as possible.
Example: During a California senatorial campaign, parents watching the news on their connected TV received ads about the candidate’s economic and healthcare plans. Meanwhile, advertisers targeted their voting-age teens on their phones, focusing on college affordability and environmental stances, targeting each household member with a tailored ad most relevant to them.
As the general election approaches and campaign budgets grow, ad spending may increase even more. With the dual benefits of expansive reach and targeted engagement, CTV and OTT are shaping political advertising’s future in upcoming election cycles.
Interactive CTV ads are transforming the political advertising space in 2024 by not just capturing viewers’ attention but engaging them in a dialogue. These ads encourage direct interaction with the content, turning passive viewing into an active experience.
Political campaigns can integrate TV ads with synchronized digital content for second screens, like smartphones, to amplify reach and engagement across TV and digital platforms. Campaigns can include hashtags, URLs, or QR codes in their TV ads to encourage viewers to engage in real-time discussions or visit campaign websites.
Example: During a race for a local representative, a candidate used an interactive CTV ad showcasing a real-time poll. Viewers could scan a QR code to vote on state priorities like education or healthcare. This led them to the campaign’s site, where they immediately saw the candidate’s proposals for their chosen issue, boosting engagement and providing insights into target voter concerns.
Interactive CTV enables campaigns to bridge the gap between TV and digital platforms, extend their reach, and foster deeper engagement with viewers.
Political campaigns require a deep understanding of their audience for successful messaging and outreach. Advanced analytics and measurement tools now offer political campaigns detailed insights, allowing for data-driven optimizations in ad placements and messaging.
Historically, campaigns relied on limited viewership data and subjective metrics to assess ad performance. However, due to the rise of programmatic advertising, CTV analytics, and other audience measurement tools, campaigns can now delve into the specifics of how their ads perform.
Tools like KORTX’s Axon Audience Manager are pivotal in this transformation. By identifying audience patterns and trends, Axon segments audiences based on various criteria, such as demographics or past voting behavior, allowing for more targeted campaigns.
Axon offers extremely granular data for political advertisers to dissect voter behavior, preferences, and sentiment.
Other platforms like KORTX’s Kampus offer advertisers a comprehensive view of their political campaigns. Through its single interface, users can access dashboard reports, product catalogs, and tailored analytics for tracking. Kampus integrates with Google Ads, Google Analytics, Meta, and Hubspot, offering campaigns deep insights to refine political strategies.
As political landscapes become more complex and voters more discerning, these tools provide campaigns with invaluable insights to address these challenges.
Amidst the surge in AI-driven political advertising, platforms like Google are intensifying regulations to combat deceptive content. Such measures gain importance as high-profile candidates increasingly employ AI for misleading visuals, intensifying concerns over AI’s potential to sway voters.
Google’s policy already prohibits deep fakes, even as people still debate the use of AI for voice imitation.
Despite this, as political ad spending is set to hit $11 billion in 2024, Google has shown leniency. Recently, YouTube, under Google, reversed a ban on content claiming fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Setting strict guidelines for AI-driven political ads is critical for gaining ad revenue and guiding ethical AI use in the future.
As we approach the 2024 elections, political campaigns will increasingly use cutting-edge advertising technologies to connect with voters in more personalized and engaging ways. Amidst this, industry leaders like Google are also contending with the ethical implications that come with the use of AI in shaping public opinion and political discourse.
Political ad spending is on track to be the highest ever in 2024, offering many opportunities for candidates to leverage these platforms to present their policies and engage with voters like never before.
Erik Stubenvoll is a Managing Director at KORTX with over 20 years of experience. When he is not learning about his client’s goals, he is on the sidelines with his wife at his daughter’s softball and soccer games or on the golf course.
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