Tracking the 2012 Election Ad Spend with Empower’s Media Analysts

$10 billion being spent across media channels is impacting brands


Empower MediaMarketing is tracking the political ad spend during the 2012 elections in an effort to minimize impact on marketers.

Estimates predict $10 billion will be spent across all media for all 2012 November elections, $4 billion on  TV and cable ads alone. Two main factors drive this phenomenon which impacts more than the outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election.

1) Overspending: Special political action groups are spending as much as four times the asking rate for TV spots. This means marketers with national and local ad programs in place during the election are having their plans upended by political ad spending.

2) Targeting: Battleground states, like Ohio, are being targeted with higher spending levels to help win these votes. Ohio has accurately picked winning presidential candidates in the last 12 elections.

3) Even Shorter Consumer Attention Spans: How will this impact consumers? We’ll see more ads, earlier than ever, in more places. But we won’t see as many as expected across online, mobile and social media channels.

4) An Early Start: We’re seeing ads earlier than usual. In battleground states, ads kicked off in late May, three months ahead of past elections.

5) More Ads, In More Places: Political ads could comprise up to 80 percent of local TV advertising this October. More ads will be placed in more day parts, in addition to targeting smaller networks in key markets.

6) Spending More, Not Spending Smarter: Research shows that consumer media habits have changed. While consumers are now using mobile, online and social media channels to get their news, more of the political ad spend is going to TV and newspaper channels.

For more on Empower MediaMarketing’s point of view on this trend, check out our analysts’ recent news coverage.

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