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Politics As (The New) Usual

by Darron McKnight | January 13th, 2020

Political advertising has become big business. Current projections for 2020 spending are as high as $10 billion. We are all impacted by this in our personal lives—political ads are everywhere and nearly impossible to avoid. For the foreseeable future, each new election cycle will be predicted to have record or near spending. As a TV advertiser, what will the impact be on your business? Consider changing this sentence: What’s the best way to manage and plan around that impact?

We wrote about our thoughts before the 2016 election. We then wrote about our findings after the 2016 election. In summary, our clients that stayed the course with their schedules had the best results. There is typically a dip around primaries or election weeks, but calls rebound in the following weeks.

2018 also had extremely high political spending, with some estimates saying that local TV dollars in 2018 nearly eclipsed 2016 dollars. So, what did that mean for our clients in 2018?

Our spot clearance rate in November 2018 was about 5% lower than the 2018 average. Political advertisers pay more to guarantee that their spots run, so our spots get preempted. This is expected and about on par with our findings in 2016. So we had less spots clear, but what did that mean for leads? The Camel Client (TCC) November 2018 average leads (45.5), were slightly lower than average leads for the rest of 2018 (46.1). That’s a difference of 1.4%. Not too bad. As you can see in the chart below, leads dipped more during Thanksgiving week than they did in the weeks immediately before the election!

What did this mean for our final metric, cost per call (CPC?) As calls drop and clearance drops, CPC will rise. However, in 2018, the November increase for TCC was 1.8% vs. the rest of 2018. Again, not too shabby. Based on the numbers, we would not recommend abandoning TV.

It’s impossible to completely avoid political advertising in our personal lives, but your team at cj is monitoring the situation to minimize the effect on your business as much as we possibly can!