A Bush/Clinton Political Match-Up Would Be Most Lucrative for Advertisers, Say Political Ad Agencies

Election 2016Donald Trump Ranks Third As Likely Top GOP Spender

Disregard for the moment who you think is the best person for the nation’s top job—which candidates will spend the most on advertising if they get their party’s nomination? A Bush vs. Clinton presidential race would be best for business for the nation’s leading political advertising firms, according to a new survey of national political ad agencies from media and advertising technology firm STRATA. When asked which candidate would generate the strongest ad spend, 44% of agencies believe that former governor Jeb Bush would be the strongest Republican revenue generator, while they unanimously agreed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be the highest spending Democratic nominee.

Senator Marco Rubio followed Bush as the number two choice, with 28% of agencies saying he would spend the most. Most surprisingly, front-runner Donald Trump came in as the third potentially highest spending Republican, with just 22% of agencies selecting Trump as their top choice. STRATA polled agencies representing approximately 75% of total political advertising billings nationwide.

“It’s not that surprising that, from a pure business perspective, political advertising agencies would like to see a Clinton-Bush matchup,” said Judd Rubin, vice president of STRATA, in a news release. “But the story is Trump and his command of the earned media game. We’ve never seen anything like it and we may never see it again. After this campaign, there will be college courses examining Trump’s uncanny ability to demand media attention and his use of Twitter.”

The survey also shows that spot (local) TV is still the overwhelming choice of political advertisers and provides the best return on investment (ROI). Eighty-three percent of agencies utilize spot TV the most with national TV trailing in second with 11% of agencies. Spot TV is viewed as providing the best ROI according to 78% of agencies, while other agencies feel social media (11%), national TV (6%) and digital video (6%) are better vehicles to communicate candidates’ message.

Also surprising is that client budgets allocated for political advertising this year are just modestly larger or even flat for many political agencies. When compared to past presidential election years, 33% of agencies saw political advertising budgets remain the same. Fifty-six percent of agencies saw their budgets increase up to 20% and another 11% of agencies saw budget increases of over 20%.

While social media remains strong for campaigns, paid social accounts for less than 10% of ad budgets for a majority of the agencies polled. The most utilized social platform is Facebook, which is used by 79% of agencies. YouTube and Twitter are used by 58%, followed by Instagram and Google+ (32% each) and Snapchat (27%). LinkedIn tied Periscope at 5% of agencies.

“Political campaigns have become very sophisticated in how they reach potential voters, yet they continue to feel that the traditional medium of spot TV is the most effective advertising tool, even as the advertising industry continues to fragment outside of political advertising,” added Rubin.

For spot TV, most ads are purchased very close to their actual airtime as 95% of political agencies generally purchase these ads less than one month in advance. Looking forward, 89% agencies predict October 2016 to be the month with the largest ad spend.

Source: PR Newswire; edited by Richard Carufel

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