The surge in digital political video ads is just the beginning. Recent Borrell Associates data, cited in the International Business Times, estimated that US digital political ad spending would leap almost 9,000% to pass $1 billion next year—nearly seven times more than $159.2 million in 2012, the last presidential election year. By the next election in 2020, digital political ad dollars were forecast to near $3.28 billion.
Overall, Borrell forecast that total US political ad spending would total $11.4 billion in 2016—20% higher than in 2012. Despite impressive gains, this means digital will still grab less than 10% of total budgets.
As election season starts earlier and earlier, one can’t discount 2015 spending. Overall, political ad spending in 2015 and 2016 combined will reach $16.45 billion, according to Borrell figures cited by Portada.
US National vs. State/Local Political Contest Ad Spending, by Media, 2015-2016 (millions and % of total)
Broadcast TV will boast the lion’s share of ad dollars, at nearly 52%, and the majority of those dollars will be spent on national campaigns. Cable will account for about 9% of total political ad spending this year and next, with spending relatively even between national and state/local contests. Meanwhile, newspaper’s $1.35 billion in spending will skew heavily toward state and local campaigns, as will radio’s nearly $1.19 billion.
Digital’s overall share of ad dollars is even smaller when 2015 comes into the picture. Just 6.6% of political ad dollars in 2015 and 2016 combined will go to digital placements—61.1% of which will focus on national campaigns, and 38.9% on state/local contests.