How to Advertise Your Local Business During Election Season

06.01.2022 Sara Brasfield

Political campaigns for the 2022 election cycle are well underway, with political ads already running on TV and other advertising channels. With more than $7 billion projected to be spent on political ads during this election cycle, the channels you currently use to promote your local business could see a wave of increased activity in the months ahead.

Unfortunately for local businesses, increased ad buys can swallow up inventory, creating scarcity that pushes the cost of ad buys higher. Any business is liable to feel the sting of price inflation due to seasonal demand, but small business advertising strategies are particularly susceptible to the disruptions election season can bring.

Despite these challenges, businesses can’t afford to put their ad campaigns on ice every election season. With the right strategic shifts and revisions to your existing ad strategy, your business can adapt to new marketplace conditions and run ad campaigns that deliver strong results. Here are some tips to help you make the most of this altered advertising landscape.

Shift Advertising Resources Toward Digital Channels

When political campaign money starts to pour in, the simplest and most obvious solution is to shift your ad dollars away from channels where prices are rising fast, and to instead increase your marketing spend across channels that haven’t experienced an influx of spending.

Although billions are being spent on election ads in 2022, the vast majority of this money is destined for broadcast TV ads. Of the $7.8 billion in forecasted ad spending for the 2022 elections, $5.8 billion are expected to be spent on broadcast ads.

The remaining $2 billion will be directed toward cable TV, digital advertising, and other ad channels. While this amount of money is likely to increase competition and trigger a rise in prices, these price increases may be more modest on channels where political campaigns aren’t as active. By adjusting your marketing mix to shift spending toward less competitive digital channels, you can protect your advertising ROI during a challenging season.

Narrow Your Audience Targeting to Reduce Competition

If you notice ad rates increasing for the types of inventories you normally purchase, one method for lowering those costs is to incorporate additional targeting filters to thin out your audience, which in turn reduces the direct competition your ads will face with political campaigns.

While a more targeted approach may reduce your overall ad exposure, these filters can help your ad buys drill down to more specific inventories that don’t face as much competition from political ads. Even if prices are elevated, the percentage increase may be far more affordable than other inventories, and still at a fair price that allows you to generate revenue from your campaign.

Lean Into Keyword Targeting via Online Search

When political ads are swallowing up traditional and digital ad inventories, paid search advertising can help businesses find ad opportunities that aren’t a focal point of political advertisers.

Industry-specific, long-tail keywords can help your business isolate ad delivery to a niche group of users whose searches are relevant to your business offerings. These keywords likely have no relation to the content of political ads, and the bidding market for these terms may be unaffected by election season advertising.

Search advertising may be another compelling destination as you adjust your marketing mix and shift dollars away from more competitive channels and toward ad opportunities that offer better ROI.

Test Out New, More Affordable Ad Channels

Looking for a reason to experiment with new ad strategies? From organic social content to unproven ad channels your business hasn’t prioritized, election season may offer a good excuse to exercise some out-of-the-box ad experimentation.

Even by committing only a fraction of your advertising budget to new ad campaigns and channels, these tests can be a great opportunity to try out new approaches and collect performance data that may help you optimize your ad strategy in the future. This experimental approach is often most productive and cost-effective when launched in collaboration with a digital advertising partner.

Don’t let election season drain your ad strategy of its ROI potential. A digital advertising partner can help you adjust ad strategies in the face of election season or any other market disruption. Contact us today to see how we can help.

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About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is the Content Marketing Manager for Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than seven years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the (now virtual!) office, Sara loves spending time running, reading and supporting her favorite teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

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