2020 Political Ad Spend to Hit $6 Billion, Digital Will Be Biggest Gainer

By Joe Mandese

Political media campaigns will spend a record $6 billion on advertising in 2020, a 14.3% increase over the $5.25 billion spent in the 2018 midterm elections, and a 37.9% increase over the last Presidential campaign year in 2016, according to a forecast released today by Kantar's Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG).

Not surprisingly, the biggest gains are expected to go to digital media, which will nearly double to $1.2 billion in 2020 from $650 million in 2016.

While digital will account for a 20% share of total political media spending in 2020, broadcast TV will remain the dominant medium, with a 53.3% share.

If cable TV's 20% share is added to the mix, TV will take nearly three-quarters — 73.3% — of all political media ad dollars next year.

"Overall, an extended Democratic primary fight would likely be a short-term, second quarter 2020 sugar high," CMAG General Manager Steve Passwaiter says in a statement explaining the projections. "In fact, a long primary and a Democratic convention fight would most likely reduce total campaign spending as it would reduce the amount of time the eventual Democratic nominee would have to raise and spend money for the general election."

Kantar says it will be keeping a close eye on key "emerging" areas of campaign spending, especially the "over-the-top/connected TV space, noting: "The issues of scale that hindered the use of this platform in previous cycles is now in the past, as the universe has expanded beyond D2 and Comcast's VOD service. Accordingly, political advertisers will be able to air more spots on these platforms and thus extend the reach of their messaging and better connect with younger audiences."



"2020 Political Ad Spend to Hit $6 Billion, Digital Will Be Biggest Gainer." MediaPost, 6/27/19.

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