I Am Your Advertising Budget, and I Approve This Message

08.20.2015 David Gustafson

Is your business ready for the campaign season?

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With the first round of debates now in the books and the first presidential primaries less than six months away, the campaign season is officially in full swing.  Once the dust settles next November, the throng of presidential hopefuls and thousands of national, state and local candidates will have invested billions of dollars in advertising to break through the clutter and get their messages to the masses.  As is the case for many local businesses, this competition for attention creates a need for clear, concise messaging.  From “I Like Ike” to “Read My Lips” to “Forward,” some of the most effective campaign communications are the slogans and sound bites that become engrained in the public psyche.  With that in mind, here are three nuggets to keep top of mind when determining how to get your advertising to the top of the polls: 

TV…Still Terrific! With all due respect to a certain America’s Got Talent judge, television remains the “king of all media.”  From Broadcast to Cable to On Demand to over-the-top offerings, today’s television viewer has more options than ever before.  More choice means more opportunity for advertisers to connect with their constituents.  According to the latest Nielsen estimates, nearly 9 out of 10 adults watch TV every week, logging an average of more than five-and-a-half hours a day in front of the set.  Perhaps more impressive, approximately 90% of that time is devoted to live viewing, compared to 10% spent with time-shifted programming.  These lofty poll numbers are a big reason why Kantar Media predicts political candidates will invest $4.4 billion in TV advertising between now and November 2016.  As the Washington Post observed last month, that demonstrates “a continued belief by candidates that broadcast and cable TV is still the best way to reach voters.”                

Digital Delivers!While TV may be at the top of the advertising ticket, Digital makes the perfect running mate.  In fact, a recent study on “multiscreening” from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that nearly 4 out of 5 U.S. adults use another device while watching television – and browsing the Internet is the top multiscreening activity.  The array of targeting options available to online advertisers can increase the relevance and effectiveness of online ads, and the burgeoning digital video marketplace offers an unprecedented opportunity for augmenting the benefits of TV advertising across multiple screens.  According to projections released this week by Borrell Associates, Digital is expected to top $1 billion in political ad revenue during this election cycle.   

Mobile = Mandatory!The effectiveness of Digital advertising combined with on-the-go convenience make Mobile a must for any campaign looking to stay in the race.  According to recent findings released by the Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone – and approximately 1 out of 5 relies on that smartphone for Internet access.  “Smartphones are widely used for navigating numerous important life activities,” the Pew report concludes, adding that the importance of the smartphone is magnified for younger users.  Not surprisingly, political candidates are taking notice.  “That means voters should expect more political ads as they scroll through their phones next year,” according to a CNN assessment.         

Whether your goal is to master the entire market or just be the king of your corner, latching on to these three concepts should help drive your campaign to success long past the point when most of today’s presidential hopefuls have left the race.  Craft your message, develop your strategy and enjoy the ride.  As Mark Twain once remarked, “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”       


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About the Author

David Gustafson

As Cox Media’s Director of Linear & Audience Research, David plays a key role in the company’s usage and interpretation of TV audience data. With more than two decades of industry experience, David currently is a member of the Nielsen Local Policy Guidelines Committee (PGC) and VAB Measurement Innovation Task Force, as well as client advisor to Comscore. Known as “The Professor,” David’s articles combine his passion for writing with a penchant for concisely explaining complex topics.

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