An estimated $400 million worth of presidential campaign advertising, and possibly more, is likely to hit Americans’ television programming over the next few weeks as the presidential election race heats up.
These numbers, reported recently in The Wall Street Journal, show how important advertising has become today to persuade millions of voters.
Advertising has become as much a part of the election season as its impact usually is on the Super Bowl. Early forecasts showed political ad spending will total $9.9 billion during 2020, according to an advertising forecast from WPP PLC’s ad-buying unit GroupM also published in The Wall Street Journal.
The Benefit of Tapping Into Election Cycle Advertising Cycles
Auto dealers recognize that many viewers, who also are potential car shoppers, are tuned in to their televisions and realize this to be an opportune time to capture mindshare, especially in a year that has seen millions of car sales washed away by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, dealers also realize the cost to advertise increases around each November election, but it’s not always because of the election that these costs tend to increase.
With each major election taking place in November, dealers are up against a flurry of retailers who also are tapping into holiday and end-of-year sales promotions. This push often results in higher prices for advertising not only on television, but also online and for social marketing.
Social Marketing Costs Expected to Rise
According to a report by Kantar Media, many candidates on the ballot have been active themselves advertising on Facebook, with approximately $37.6 million already spent on social media marketing during the first six months of 2020, versus $2.2 million spent on television ads. This emphasis on social and digital advertising is expected to continue through November.
An analysis by PureCars found that during the November 2016 election, digital ad clicks (CPC) rose up to 64% in the second half of the year.
Tips to Help Dealers Successfully Advertise During Election Seasons
How can dealers successfully tap into the election cycle?
For starters, they should be especially focused on local keywords in all their digital advertising to optimize their efforts and see the largest possible return on their investment.
They should work closely with their account representatives and be wary of having their ads placed near or in affiliation with false, misleading or abusive political advertising. “Political fatigue” is certainly a thing at this time of year, and many consumers may actually seek out non-political content online or in their favorite social platform.
Dealers may want to consider starting their schedules a few weeks after the election is over. This way they will still take advantage of more people tuning in for post-election analysis but may avoid the heightened rates.
Dealers also should consider video to reach consumers at this time of year. Many consumers online and using social channels connect well with video content, and in a year when empathy has been a primary message, video has helped dealers connect with potential car shoppers on a more emotional level.
This will remain through the end of the year as the pandemic continues to impact the broader economy.
Flexibility is key this time of year and around election season. Dealers will want to work with digital media counterparts and have several different placement options available to choose from as ads and ad-placement options are continuously shuffled.
It is a good idea to ask for media alternatives for in-content opportunities and promotions across all digital channels and exposure placements.
While the cost of digital advertising is expected to rise in the coming months, dealers can leverage these tips to maximize their advertising investment to connect, engage and transact with car shoppers so they can make the most of their 2020 sales goals.
Jeremy Anspach (pictured above) is CEO of PureCars, a leading automotive dealer advertising and attribution technology provider.