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Television brings large viewership to political advertising.

TV Courts Political Advertising in a Presidential Year

February 16th, 2016   ||    by Monta Monaco Hernon

Political advertising brings in billions of dollars in advertising to television during presidential election years. Local TV stations alone added $3 billion in revenue to their coffers in 2012, but while digital spending has been on the rise, there is no sign that this should cut significantly into TV’s piece of the political pie, according to Business Insider. In fact, more than 60,000 campaign-related ads aired on broadcast television in 2015. Estimates show political advertising will bring in another $133 million by next month. This is three times the amount planned for cable and substantially greater than that which is slated for the Internet.

Looking at individual presidential campaigns, Newsmax reported Super PACs supporting Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will spend around $4 million on television advertising in Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire. And International Business Times noted the other Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, spent $3.2 million on his television advertising spree leading up to the recent caucus in Iowa. Furthermore, the combined spend on television ads in Iowa for the Republican party candidates alone reached $43 million.

Campaign for Campaign Ads

Even so — Trump’s nod to the power of TV notwithstanding — television leaves nothing to chance. The Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) has launched its own campaign, We Get Voters, including what else, but TV ads, to remind candidates that political advertising dollars spent on television still bring in the most bang for your buck. One spot proclaims, “Don’t let your message get lost in the dark … Your voters are here,” while another alludes to Americans’ love for talking politics and says they are most likely to bring up information garnered from local television.

These claims are backed up by studies offered by TVB on the We Get Voters site, set up as part of the organization’s political outreach. The site quotes data from Nielsen’s Q3 2015 Total Audience Report, showing that American adults over 35 years old watch 38 hours of television per week, three times more than they listen to the radio and six times more than they spend looking at their smartphones or browsing the web. Broadcast television also boasts the highest reach at about 85 percent, compared to radio’s 57 percent and smartphone usage, which is around 39 percent, according to a TVB Media Comparison Study. Meanwhile, the Hill believes digital advertising is plagued by viewability concerns and fraud, with advertisers losing $6.3 billion to fake traffic in 2015.

Trusted Sources

That covers reach and exposure, but what about credibility? TVB says figuring out which sources drive water cooler discussions is a key component to making a campaign effective. The Keller Fay Group found that more than half of political conversations reference television content versus 23 percent radio and 14 percent print. Furthermore, 71 percent of Democrats and Republicans said they tend to reference news from local stations, which is about one-fourth higher than the response for cable. In addition, 79 percent of respondents trust their local news station, versus 62 percent with cable.

Steve Lanzano, TVB’s president and CEO, summed all of this up in an article he penned for Campaigns and Elections. He believes, “Campaign ads are not effective if the right people don’t see or hear them, and none can compete with local broadcast TV in terms of reach and reference.”

And now, with programmatic technology available, data-driven decision making is brought to the television buy. This allows campaign dollars to be spent even more effectively by finding receptive voters and presenting them with messages that will have the most impact.

For more on how programmatic can enhance political campaign advertising, contact Videa.

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