While it’s early in the 2020 presidential election cycle with many unknowns, PQ Media is projecting political media buying could exceed $8 billion in 2020, possibly as high as $8.5 billion. Monies have already been spent in 2019 that surpass those in the year before the last race for the White House, particularly on marketing services like public relations, direct marketing, telemarketing, promotional products, experiential marketing and market research.
One of the wildcards in the 2020 contest is President Trump, who disappointed media companies by relying on earned media in 2016. But as an incumbent with low approval ratings, Trump is expected to open his wallet this time which could put total political spending at $8.25 billion. To get to $8.5 billion will require a long drawn-out Democratic primary season. The quicker the Dems dwindle the current field of 23 candidates to two frontrunners, the less money dedicated to the primaries. And if the primaries and elections put excessive pressure on TV inventory, the high CPM rates could force candidates to look elsewhere to place ads, including radio and cable TV, reasons Leo Kivijarv, Executive VP & Director of Research, PQ Media.
In the latest “Radio Matters” blog post from the Radio Advertising Bureau, Kivijarv identifies five baseline factors for political ad sellers to keep in mind as they develop their election 2020 marketing strategies. First, more money is spent during federal elections that include a presidential race. Second, despite a football field full of Democratic candidates, primaries account for less than 20% of media spend. Third, fundraising is expected to break records and grow by 10%-20% compared with the 2016 election. Fourth, the number of contentious Congressional races will drive the increase – even after 2018 had the most ever. And finally voter turnout will be key this time around after a decline in 2016, particularly in states that were unexpectedly carried by Trump.