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Political Digital Ad Spending to Skyrocket in 2020 Election

$9 Billion Industry

Total political ad spending in the US is expected to top $9 billion for the 2020 election cycle, according to GroupM, representing an increase of 13% from 2018. Nearly all of the growth is forecasted to be in the digital realm while more traditional avenues, like broadcast TV, will remain stagnant.

That is important enough to repeat, with emphasis: nearly ALL of the GROWTH is forecasted to be in the DIGITAL realm while more TRADITIONAL AVENUES, like broadcast TV, WILL REMAIN STAGNANT.



Political Ad Spending Graph


Digital political advertising has grown exponentially over the past 10 years. Statista estimates that the amount spent on digital in 2020 will be more than 200 times the $14.08 million spent in 2010 and will increase to $2.85 billion, nearly 52% over 2018’s record high of $1.88 billion. As mentioned above, broadcast TV ad spending is expected to stay the same at $3.36 billion. While that is still a lot of money, it signals a significant shift in the medium and methods best suited to impact voters.

Political Ad Spending Graph


There is little doubt why digital spending has increased so much and will continue to rise: Digital. Advertising. Wins. Elections. The 2008 Obama campaign saw the opportunity digital advertising presented, outspent the McCain campaign by $6.5 million on the platform, and won the election. They spent more on digital than Romney in 2012 and won again, solidifying the precedent set in 2008 and proving once and for all the effectiveness of online campaigns. In 2016, the Trump campaign outspent Clinton on digital by nearly 4 times, doling out over $12 million, and, again, won. It seems pretty clear: digital matters.

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