Political ad budgets on broadcast television are on track to be six times as much as they are online this year. Yet, the interference that the Internet has introduced into this election has been palpable. Our elections are going to be decided online either in this cycle or the next -- not via online ballot box, which actually could be on the horizon. A large percentage of the actual political battlefield action is originating on the internet, leaving broadcast news discussing on-screen what has transpired online.
Overall, digital ad-spending is predicted to surpass television as early as next year, and with every new forecast, that date moves up closer to now. Digital political ad-spend this year is estimated at $1 billion, up 5,000% from 2008, and is predicted to be over $3 billion by 2020. While the televised attack ad is still with us, the online attack ad is here now, too.
Here's an example. Just last week it was reported that the domain address TedCruzForAmerica.com actually displays Canada's own Immigration site, a challenge to Cruz by pointing out his Canadian origins. This isn't the first time this has happened to poor Cruz, as TedCruz.com is a website simply displaying the message "Support President Obama -- Immigration Reform Now!" JebBush.com redirects to Donald Trump's campaign site.
It is widely suspected to have been supporters and not specific campaigns that have been carrying out these sly attacks. In the future, purchasing domains that could have a connection with the candidate will be considered as critical as being able to parry a cutting televised attack ad. All of these maneuvers by campaigns and supporters will cost money and this is in part how political ad spend will shift from television to online.