$9 Billion in Political Ads this Midterm Are you Ready?

Advertisers will spend a projected $9 billion on U.S. political advertising during the midterm elections, according to new figures from ad impact. That’s a staggering increase of 130% over the 2018 midterms and means that ad spending in this category will have more than doubled since the last presidential race.

Obviously, political advertising had had a bad wrap the past decade, with privacy concerns and targeting issues. Campaigning was a part of early political movements but happened passively. Negative campaigning is originally traced back to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson who had a series of pamphlets released about each other. Since then, the lines have been blurred. Although the Sedition Act prevents outright false, scandalous or malicious writing, it doesn't explicitly prohibit advertising placement or conversation.

There are typically negative connotations when it comes to political advertising in consumer's eyes, in fact, over 50% of U.S. consumers say that social media sites should allow no political ads, but what does this mean for you as a publisher? And how should advertisers prepare? Will AI help or hurt political advertising? Let’s take a closer look.

How to Prepare as an Advertiser

If you are not a political advertiser, you may see CPMs rise during the election. In 2020 there was a 12% rise in CPMs in September over August on Facebook. So, it may behoove you to prepare in advance by either finding new channels or limiting your spend on non-converting advertisements.

If you are a political advertiser, get ready. Your world is about to get busy.

The top tips for advertisers in the political space are:

  • Get creative; By delivering your message in new ways
  • Keep it fresh; deliver new information when possible
  • Stay positive; voters are overwhelmed with a barrage of ads, stay positive about your results
  • Reach for the right voter at the right time; by knowing your target audience for each message, you can correctly target the right content at the right time.

In discussing targeting, if you haven't tried using contextual advertising, it may be a great time to start.

An average of 38% , say that they would stop engaging with a candidate or party if their ads appeared in low-quality or opposing environments. The risk of your ad running on a site that your potential voter disagrees with can be regulated with AI-powered contextual serving, keeping your candidate or party's image safe.

Plus, contextual advertisements can humanize your party. What if your candidate's ad was shown every time a good deed was done or every time a lawyer won a case.

How to Prepare as A Publisher:

It is important that publishers take time now to look at their policies and see if they are allowing political ads on their site or not. If you do decide to allow these types of ads, you should have the proper processes in place.

First and foremost, publishers should brace themselves for an influx in ad spending. As mentioned earlier, political ad spending is expected to reach close to $9 billion. If you're willing for your viewers to see political ads, make sure your site is properly optimized for ads.

If you are looking to take advantage of this influx in spending to monetize your videos further, think about opening up your advertising industry to support On-Stream ads; you can increase your revenue by up to +25%.

If you do not wish to show political ads on your account, you may want to opt out via your SSP.

How AI & Political Advertising Work Together

AI is playing a larger role in the world of political advertising. It's no secret that many campaigns are using AI to target voters.

In 2008, social media was used for one of the first times as a prime platform for political conversation. Since then, the number of campaigns using AI to target voters has increased.

AI can be used for bad, for example, The Atlantic said that, “about a fifth of all tweets about the 2016 presidential election were published by bots, according to one estimate, as were about a third of all tweets about that year’s Brexit vote;”

However, The 2020 campaigns primarily focused on AI and ML in the advertising space, spending about $200 million on AI driven ads. Sentiment analysis was the key feature that many campaigns utilized as a metric. By measuring the change in attitude over time, advertisers were able to analyze whether their ads were effective.

AI allows advertisers to better target, optimize and serve ads that perform to the right people, and it's only going to become more widely used in campaigns moving forward. In fact, we have a hunch that many advertisers don't realize all that AI really does for them.

How Can CatapultX help with Political Advertising

CatapultX's AI utilizes a form of sentiment analysis and machine learning to determine how a moment within a video feels, and how it relates to ads in its inventory. This allows the moment to become a magic match with the brand, candidate or party. Segmenting happens on the topic, so serve ads related to healthcare on health-related video content for prime engagement. Learn more now.