Political ad spending in 2020 is expected to hit $10 billion, with presidential election spend to reach record levels, surpassing $2.7 billion.
According to data published by Advertising Analytics, about two-thirds of the presidential ad spending will come from President Trump and the Democratic nominee during the general election, while the remaining one-third, or roughly $917 million, will be spent during the primary. That’s a 71 percent increased compared to the 2016 presidential primary.
A majority of the political ad spend is expected to be concentrated in the first quarter of 2020, with candidates buying ads in the first two primary states: Iowa and New Hampshire. In total, about $160 million is expected to be spent in these two states in the third and fourth quarters.
Examples of current political OOH in the market:
- U.S. Senate candidate Bryant “Corky” Messner, a Republican attorney and activist, bought a billboard in Manchester, NH, to welcome President Trump ahead of his recent visit.
- The National Republican Senatorial Committee is putting up billboards in several Senate races, aiming to drive attention to lower-tier candidates. The Committee has funded billboards in Colorado, Georgia, Maine, and North Carolina calling Democratic candidates “too liberal” and featuring pictures of them next to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and other progressive Democrats.
- In Denver, the billboards target Stephany Rose Spaulding, who used the billboard to her advantage, sharing it on social media and raising campaign cash off it. State Rep. Janet Buckner, an Aurora Democrat, said Republicans “are running scared, otherwise they wouldn’t spend this much money on a billboard.”
- In Iowa, the billboards target Kimberly Graham, who was thrilled with the “free advertising.”
I am a progressive, and I'm not apologizing for it.
I support Single Payer Healthcare, and I'm not backing down.
I believe Climate Change is a crisis, and I'm going to do something about it.
— Kimberly Graham for Polk County Attorney (@KimberlyforIowa) August 15, 2019
- New Yorkers bought a billboard in Iowa to communicate with their Mayor Bill de Blasio, a 2020 presidential hopeful. They are using the billboard to call for de Blasio to spend less time in Iowa and more time in the city he leads.
- Progressive group Iowa Voices is targeting Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) with mobile billboard ads at the Iowa State Fair criticizing her for taking money from the insurance industry.
As political ads ramp up, OAAA posted a series of favorite political OOH examples over the years.
— youroaaa (@YourOAAA) July 31, 2019
A Political Advertising Primer is available for OAAA members to help understand the current political ad spend landscape.