Midterm Elections And Political Advertising

With Congressional elections just over a month away, real-time advertising is hitting the campaign trail. A survey released today by STRATA, a media buying and selling software company that processes $50 billion in ad buys annually, took the temperature of political ad agencies that account for 75% of total political advertising billings, and found that political ad agencies are using multiple new tools to ensure their clients’ messages get out to potential voters as fast as possible.

One tool, programmatic buying, allows buyers to scoop up ad spots through automated systems. While many in the advertising industry are still hesitant to use programmatic buying, political ad agencies are jumping in. The survey found 85% of political ad agencies report that they plan to use programmatic programs for their media buying efforts.

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Utilization of social media for midterm elections promotion

Political advertisers are also utilizing social media in similar ways to consumer brands to quickly get political messages out to the public. Sixty percent of agencies indicated that they plan to use Twitter in client’s political campaigns, compared to 50% that will use Facebook, and 40% for YouTube and Google+.


“Our political shops are leveraging tools and social channels that are built for real-time marketing,” said Joy Baer, President of STRATA. “Because of its ability to react instantly to changing market dynamics, programmatic buying is a tremendous tool for political advertisers when trying to respond to an attack or get a message out right away.”

Midterm elections: Overall spending

Overall spending for this year’s election is strong as 65% of agencies say client budgets have either increased or stayed the same since the last congressional election.

As usual, political advertisers are focusing on TV ads. Eighty-two percent of agencies say their clients’ will most use Spot TV/Cable to reach political audiences. Internet/Digital and spot radio came in tied as the second most used advertising vehicles. Eighty-six percent of respondents also said that TV was just as important to their clients as it was four years ago. The return on investment came in strongest for to spot TV as 57% of political ad shops felt it provided the best ROI, followed by online video  at 43%.