Welcome to the 2016 Billion-Dollar Digital Adlection

If the 2004 presidential campaign was the Internet Election, and the 2008 campaign was the Social Media Election, and the 2012 campaign was the Twitter Election, then the 2016 presidential campaign is the Digital Ad Election.

From USA Today:

TV, the old king of U.S. politics, faces mortality

“I’ve spent no money, and I’m number one.” — Donald Trump

”I’m going to do something really novel. It’s called advertising.’’ — Jeb Bush

Both presidential candidates, one the year’s big surprise and the other its big disappointment, were talking about television, for a 635851983951547181-488696300half century the dominant weapon of national politics.

Trump was proclaiming its irrelevance; Bush was acknowledging such skepticism — while doubling down.

It’s a paradox of the 2016 campaign: unprecedented political spending on TV ads, and unprecedented doubt over whether it’s having much impact.

The fall of King TV is not imminent. But in 2015, TV broadcast advertising seemed inversely related to political success, as measured by polls.

And what will eventually replace TV advertising?

Digital ads.

From Felicia Greiff at Ad Age:

2016 Election Digital Ad Spending Will Break $1 Billion


A report from Borrell Associates shows digital is gaining importance in politics, breaking $1 billion or 9.5% of total political ad spending in the 2016 election season. But broadcast TV spending will still take the lion’s share at $5.8 billion or 51% of the total.

If you’re worried you’ll see less red, white and blue ads with patriotic symbolism, don’t be; the report, “2015–2016 Political Advertising Outlook,” said political advertising spending will hit $11.4 billion in 2016, a 20% increase from 2014. Combined spending for this year and next year will reach a staggering $16.5 billion.

Runners-up: “After broadcast TV comes cable spending, with $1.1 billion or 10% of the total 2016 political ad spend. Digital closely follows, then newspapers with $848 million (7.4% )and radio with $827 (7.3%) of total spending.”

Let’s take a breath here. $16.5 billion will be spent on political advertising in the 2016 election cycle? That’s a billion dollars more than the GDP of Iceland.

Whatever. Because digital’s billion dollars this year will triple by the next presidential election according to Issie Lapowsky’s piece in Wired.

Helpful chart:




Meanwhile, this year’s digital billion worth of political ads is “a nearly 5,000 percent increase from the measly $22.25 million spent on digital ads back in 2008.”

Not to mention, digital ad spending overall is expected to surpass TV advertising in the next two years.

So you do the political math.

P.S. The harddusting staff talked about the digital ad surge with Robin Young of NPR’s Here & Now here.

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One Response to Welcome to the 2016 Billion-Dollar Digital Adlection

  1. Pingback: Welcome to the 2016 Billion-Dollar Digital Adlection | Campaign Outsider

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