In the Second Half of 2020, Elect to Stand Out in the Crowd

July 14, 2020 • Posted in Hmmm...

Every election year creates a tough media strategy environment for any advertisers, no matter how large or small. The competition with political advertising gets fierce, driven not only by the fact that political parties, PACs and candidates’ individual campaigns become flush with money as election time approaches, but also by the fact that laws require that political advertising receives favorable rates as a matter of leveling the electoral playing field. Consumer brands, nonprofits and business-to-business service providers can quickly find themselves with little or no advertising inventory. Or, if the inventory is available, it’s suddenly priced out of range for the non-political set.

This year is going to take this natural trend to new levels – in fact, it’s already starting to do so. The Wall Street Journal projects that spending on political advertisements will reach a new high in 2020, surging $3.6 billion above the 2016 presidential campaign year. The WSJ predicts a whopping $9.9 billion political advertising expenditure in the US in 2020.

How can you keep your brand in the race in the third and fourth quarters of 2020?

Start Your Engines NOW!

The closer America gets to Election Day, media availability plummets and prices skyrocket, so you need to immediately start planning – and buying – media time and space. While some platforms like Twitter can ban political ads, television and radio stations must follow rules set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which can result in filling their schedule with more political ad spots than stations would otherwise choose to air. If you wait until late August or early September to lock in your advertising buys, you’re already behind the curve. Wait until late September or early October, and you can just forget it. What inventory will be left by then will be incredibly overpriced. Regardless of what media platforms you use – digital, social, radio, TV, print or outdoor, BUY NOW to secure better pricing.

Shift Gears

Political advertising has embraced the online environment, to be sure, but even today traditional media like broadcast radio, local TV/cable and print are powerful platforms. People become more politically engaged as they grow older, and these media are still strong with older audiences.

Shifting your advertising budget to online sources like paid digital ad networks, streaming radio services and search engine marketing (SEM) can help you avoid the jungle of traditional media where you’ll quickly be lost between now and November. Online media also favors younger audiences, so making this shift is particularly important if your brand appeal skews younger. And of course, the other benefit of online advertising, in any year, is that its effectiveness is so trackable.

Tune Up Your Content

Content geared toward organic marketing channels may have better chances of circumventing the political noise and higher cost of paid outlets. Yes, it may take more effort to monitor and control conversations in the organic sphere, but the upside is that people with election fatigue will probably be actively seeking out everything from cute kitten videos to cooking pointers and comedy clips. Fun messaging on social media, whether through organic posts or paid placements, can divert their attention away from what Aunt Francine just said with a little ray of sunshine amid the gloom. Red Thinking isn’t suggesting that you run your content off a slapstick cliff, but if your brand image allows it, focus on more lighthearted messaging.

2020 is a challenging year for everyone, but smart advertisers who act NOW can mitigate the effects of media clutter and price competition that are already building for the second half of the year. Contact Red Thinking to let us help you strategize your advertising in these crazy times.

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