Eyeing an increase in political advertising during the final stretch of the presidential election season, a recent survey of marketers and agencies by Advertiser Perceptions found that half planned to adjust their advertising efforts accordingly. One-third say they would hold back on advertising to avoid the political ad clutter, while just less than 1 in 5 (18%) planned to look to achieve more frequency in order to overcome the clutter.
The same survey, conducted in early September, showed that advertisers believed that TV and social media are the most effective or influential platforms for political advertising. Close to 3 in 10 (29%) ranked basic broadcast TV as the most influential, while 21% ranked cable TV in that position. Overall, basic broadcast TV and cable TV were ranked within the top three most influential platforms by 62% and 58% of respondents, respectively.
Some 26% ranked social media the most effective political advertising platform, above cable TV and just shy of broadcast TV’s top ranking. Moreover, almost two-thirds (64%) ranked social media among the top 3 platforms, making this the top-3 medium with the broadest consensus among advertisers surveyed.
Although political advertising on social media is arguably very effective (with some attributing it a large role in the 2016 election results), people aren’t necessarily on board with political ads on social. Perhaps as a result of rampant misinformation and continued data privacy issues, a recent Pew Research survey found that more than half of American adults believe that social media companies should not allow any political ads on their platforms.
Top Social Platforms for Political Ads
By and large – and unsurprisingly – Facebook is set to be the winner on the social media political ad front. More than 7 in 10 (72%) advertisers believe that Facebook will receive the most political ad spending this year, with 94% ranking the social media giant among the top three digital media platforms expected to accumulate the most political ad spend.
Although it’s not a unanimous sentiment, a healthy majority (80%) of respondents indicated that media companies and advertising platforms should be required to fact check political ads and remove any that are not truthful.
Furthermore, advertisers once again show that their personal preferences do not always sync up with what they need to do to benefit their employer or client. Although a great deal see social media as one of the most effective platforms for political advertising, 6 in 10 say that if they were personally given the chance to opt-out of receiving political ads on the social media they use, they would.
Who’s Spending the Most?
When it comes to digital advertising, the front-runners in the presidential race were the top spenders in the third quarter of 2020. This is according to a report [download page] from Pathmatics, which found that Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. spent $110.7 million across all digital devices analyzed, followed by Biden for President, which spent considerably less ($66.4 million) during the quarter.
The same report found that so far this year 53% of total digital political ad spend has been spent on Facebook ($384.7 million) followed by desktop video (31% share; $224.9 million) and desktop display (14% share; $102.3 million).
It’s not just political campaigns that have been spending advertising dollars in the political arena. Brands such as Levi, ($850K+), AARP ($750K+) and Absolut ($75K+) have invested advertising dollars urging consumers to get to the polls (or the mailboxes) to vote.
About the Data: The Advertiser Perceptions results are based on a September 2020 survey of 300 marketer (40% share) and agency (60% share) respondents involved in media brand decisions.