Three ways the election has affected media buying.

November 4, 2020: a day many Americans are looking forward to. In theory, the presidential election will be over, and life will be returning to our new normal. No one is looking forward to it more than me. Not only from a political perspective, but also because of the disruption a presidential election has on the media landscape. As you may have guessed, every four years a lot of extra money flows into the media landscape, which can cause major disruptions for brands and advertisers who regularly compete for that space.


Let’s break this down.

  1. Most simply put, as money flows into a TV market, advertising rates go up and inventory goes down. As a media buyer, I must find efficiencies where I can, and this often means pivoting from traditional TV to other options. Options that still makes sense for the audience we’re trying to reach. We rely heavily on data and research to inform these decisions. It’s all about making smart pivots.
  2. Digitally we see the same issues. Cost per click also increases during election years, meaning campaigns that would normally run very efficiently on a set budget suddenly cost more to produce the same results. Changes being made over the past year to paid social advertising (to make political advertising more transparent) have presented a challenge to non-political advertisers as well, as they are sometimes incorrectly categorized as political ads. This can lead to ads being rejected by social platforms, resulting in extra hours spent trying to resubmit or fix the issue, or even in extreme cases, completely revamping a media strategy all together.
  3. Last, we often find that during an election year, certain brands wish to distance themselves from politically charged programming – think CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc. As a media buyer, this can be tricky, as we need to balance reaching an audience in the most effective way while also being mindful of brand traits and preferences. Hey, I love a challenge!

I hope this was a helpful little glimpse behind the media curtain during an election year. Counting down the hours until the polls close – who’s with me?

If you’re interested in media planning and buying – not just during election season – get in touch.