While advertising plays an important role for members of many different industries, none are more robust and powerful as politics. Naturally, the political sector has turned to advertising campaigns with the aim of increasing awareness about their existence, gathering support and ‘molding’ views of the captive, and potentially undecided, audiences that exist.

Political campaigns have come a long way since the pioneering event, in 1952, by Dwight Eisenhower. His televised ads were meant to portray him as ‘someone friendly, but strong.' Today, modern political advertisements comprise of both promotional and attack ads. What are these? The former focuses on promoting the best qualities of a politician while the latter focuses on highlighting the ‘flaws’ of the competition in a rather harsh manner.

Why Do Politicians Use Campaign Advertising?

Political advertising is a very prominent element of the modern political and electoral campaigns that take place in the United States. Campaigns are conducted, very strategically to:

  • Persuade the audience that a specific candidate is a better option than alternatives
  • Mobilize supporters that share similar beliefs to go out and cast a ‘ballot’ for their preferred candidate
  • Acquire ‘citizen-personal information in order to target citizens more effectively with suitable mobilizing or persuasive messages

Positive and negative advertising is used to persuade citizens to the extent that exposure to political campaigns alters their views and attitudes regarding candidates. These campaigns ultimately shape behavior. This has become quite a controversial topic of late, however.

Why Will 2020 be the Most Difficult Political Year for Advertising Ever?

Use of political advertising is something that politicians can’t forego, especially during an election year. Extensive and aggressive campaigning methods are utilized by political consultants and advertisers representing all the different candidates. A major part of these political advertising campaigns is a process called ‘media buying’ (also commonly known as ad buying).

Media buying aims to make sure that marketers’ adverts are actually viewed by the desirable, target audience. The media buying process involves the purchase of desirable ad spaces and time slots in order to increase the effectiveness of a marketer’s media plan. In some regions, ad buying is not permitted for political purposes. However, that is not the case in the United States – where it has a very ‘free market for broadcast political messaging’ and political campaigns can be held for a single year or more.

Consequently, U.S. politicians spend millions of dollars on their campaigns, buying up ad spaces and competing for them by bidding higher on the advertising platforms. During the last Presidential election campaign in 2016, on just the pre-election day, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton together spent a total sum of $81 million on Facebook ads alone.

That's astounding.

Political ad spending is ever-growing in the United States, and will continue to do so in the future. For the upcoming 2020 elections, though, advertising experts and analysts have produced some figures related to media buying by politicians for next year.

It is estimated that a total amount of $6 billion will be spent by the U.S federal office on paying for media placements during the 2019-2020 cycle. Out of this, about $1.2-$1.6 billion is expected to go to digital videos alone.

With politicians buying up all ad space in their hopes to effectively influence as large an audience as possible, 2020 has a strong chance of being the most difficult political year for advertising ever! Political ad placement spending is estimated to be high and competition for ad space is expected to be the most difficult in the history of advertising.