Political Ad Spend for National & Local Campaigns: Where are the Best Opportunities to Win More?

March 28, 2016

It is generally assumed that national political contests are the best way to win more business. However, you may be surprised to find out that is not always the case.

Political campaigns at the state level are spending more and more on marketing and advertising. In fact, in the past two years political ad spend has increased significantly for local campaigns, especially when it comes to big data and digital advertising.

If you are looking to score marketing and advertising dollars from political campaigns this year, here are the top trends you need to know right now.

Local Campaigns are Responsible for Half of Digital Ad Spending

AdAge reported that approximately half of the money spent on digital political ads for the 2016 election season has gone to local campaigns.

This may be surprising, given the high-profile 2016 presidential race and the gaggle of candidates who started the race. The power of the Internet to reach large audiences with tailored messages has not gone unnoticed by politicians and their campaign advisors.

Digital advertising offers more bang for the buck for local political campaigns national TV spots or , allowing candidates without substantial amounts of money to compete more effectively. The net result being more money spent on local campaigns that have the intention of swaying a select group of people.

Digital vs. Traditional Advertising

According to recent studies from Borrell Associates, spending on political advertising is expected to reach $11.4 billion in 2016. Of that, more than $1 billion is projected to go toward digital advertising, showing the rising importance of mobile devices, YouTube and social media in the political process.

TV spending, however, will still rake in $5.8B in ad revenue, reinforcing the continued importance of television ads in reaching voters and constituents. Candidates in races large and small are leveraging television and local ad campaigns to gain traction in heavily fought-over areas that carry with them a high number of votes or delegates.

Data Analytics

After Obama’s campaign team built its own platform for tracking and analyzing voter data, other politicians and candidates have adopted a similar strategy.

According to recent reports, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were all at one point working with the Koch Brothers’ backed data firm, i360. This firm collects and delivers in-depth data on voters’ demographics, spending habits, mobile usage, content consumption and more.

Although consumer data has been used primarily by national brands up to this point, politicians and their campaign teams have realized the game-changing value this kind of data adds to marketing strategies, ad targeting and neighborhood canvasing. With the growing capabilities firms like i360 can offer to brands and politicians alike, the amount of money being spent on these kinds of ventures is only going to grow for local and national campaigns.

Key Takeaways

Political ad spend is variable in terms of effectiveness and contingent on a number of factors that change with each election cycle.

In order to effectively prospect to national and local campaigns for new business, you should adopt a proactive approach to prospecting and identify new opportunities to win political ad spend as early as possible.

Need a complete list of the advertising contacts and top ad agencies in charge of these budgets? Check out our latest report brimming with political sales leads:


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