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State of the Screens

9 Billion Reasons to Care About Political Video Ads

By June 2, 2022No Comments

I recently spoke at the American Association of Political Consultants annual conference in Puerto Rico (h/t Keith Norman @ Premion).  The topic of my talk was the political video advertising market heading into the midterm elections of 2022.

Below is a summary of a few key points. The PDF presentation is available for a deeper dive.

Big question #1: How large is the political video ad market expected to be in 2022?

Quick answer: $8.8B

Big question #2: How does 2022 compare to past election cycles?

Key details for political video ad spending according to AdImpact/Cross Screen Media:
1) 2022 vs. 2018 – 
$4.8B ( 125%)
2) 2022 vs. 2020 –
 $697M ( 7%)
≈ 5% of the entire U.S. video ad market
≈ 20% of all video ad growth is from politics

Flashback #1: Breaking Down the $9B Political Video Ad Market

Flashback #2: 55 Billion Reasons to Care About Local Video Ads

Midterm cycle political video ad spending (% growth)
2014 – $1.7B
2018 – $3.9B ( 142%)
3) 2022P – $8.8B ( 125%)

Presidential cycle political video ad spending (% growth):
2016 – $2.5B
2020 – $9.5B ( 283%)

Worth your time: Midterm Moolah: TV Stations Cash in on Primary Season

Big question #3: What is the breakdown between screen types across linear and digital video?

Share of political video ad spend by screen type:
1) Local broadcast TV – 51%
2) Connected TV (CTV) – 17%
3) Local cable TV – 15%
4) Mobile/desktop – 13%
5) Social video – 4%


Digital share (including CTV) of political video ad spend:
1) 2014 – 6%
2) 2016 – 12%
3) 2018 – 19%
4) 2020 – 27%
5) 2022P – 34%


Big question #4: Why is reaching swing voters with video so hard?

Challenge #1: The actual audience (swing voters) consumes video content differently than our primary demo (35+).
Average age of audience:
1) 2022 swing voter – 49
2) Average adult – 51
3) 35+ demo – 58

Why this matters: Most TV advertising in politics is still planned/measured against a 35+ demo.

Challenge #2: Using a traditional demo for planning/measurement leads us to miss 32% of our target audience, while 75% of the demo is not our target.

Challenge #3: Local video ad pricing and media consumption are different by market, leading to variance in eCPMs for the same audience.

Big question #5: What is the solution? 

Quick answer: Planning, activation, and measurement against audiences at the local level. Each market should have a unique/allocation and plan.

Big question #6: Who will win the battle for CTV dollars?

Quick answer: In the fight for CTV ad dollars, the group which adopts cross-screen planning, activation, and measurement will have an advantage.

Michael Beach

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.