Television ad spending is predicted to rise 18% in 2016 compared to spending on the 2012 Presidential election. But the more significant trend may be the rising budget for digital platforms.
This will be the first year that election digital ad spending will break $1 billion dollars, according to Borrell Associates, a firm that tracks advertising spending. This is a 5,000% increase from the 2008 presidential election, and the strong growth should continue. This partly reflects social media's increasing role in daily life and partly the improvements in digital technology.
"The spend is going to follow the eyeballs," said Jerry Hug, CEO of SITO Mobile, a mobile advertising services agency. "I think what you saw in 2012 was the advent of social media entering into the strategic discussion, which was what a lot of the political pundits credited Obama's victory to his embracing and driving his campaign message across social media channels. As we move to 2016, you've now seen the proliferation of smart phone adoption which allows for a much more immersive ad experience using rich media and video vs. static media and social media."
Other experts say that improved systems for collecting and analyzing data have made it easier and more cost-efficient to target voters.
"The evolution of hyper-targeting through online sites like Facebook and Google have made it easier for political candidates to focus their funds in a more efficacious way, " said Philip Herman, a digital marketing manager for Strategic Franchising Systems, a provider of services for several franchising brands. "These sites collect information on how you browse the web to determine your interests, spending habits, and even your political preference. As a result, it's much easier for a digital marketer to create a relevant ad to persuade the minds of voters who have interests that fit the candidate's agenda."