A political candidate running for office is just a sliver of the political advertising activity in the marketplace during election periods. Issues advertising, PAC advertising, and “friends of” ads also abound. Because these influencer groups will also be placing ads, available inventory will be slim, and what isn’t sold could be priced according to demand, particularly in broadcast media. Are you ready for such a big shift in a single year?

Choosing Your Channels

You’ll find that political ads will permeate the traditional broadcast media, aiming to reach the broadest available audience at once. This is an “awareness” play that we all know well—use the broadest reach and the largest geographic audience possible, in hopes to move the needle quickly. In broadcast specifically, the FCC is regulating rates for candidate advertising, and with limited inventory in a given day or hour, these advertisers will buy up entire markets, dayparts, or channels at a time. If tv and radio are your usual jam, you may find yourself without a place to put your ad come summer 2020.

The same is likely true in outdoor advertising. Bus wraps, billboards, and other spots will turn blue and red come summer.

All of this leads business advertisers to digital media

For those new to digital, you may be questioning if you can navigate such an enormous space. You may need some assistance to fully understand all the decision making that must be done, but in truth, digital offers something that television and radio never could: trackable interactions. Proof that your placements are working, and the ability to understand who your true audience is and adjust to their preferences quickly.

Programmatic or Direct?

As you are beginning to navigate the digital space, let’s talk about delivery choices. Are you looking for broad messaging abilities to a wide geographic region or demographic? You may be hoping to “replace” the television experience with video ads and would like a similar audience. If so, programmatic buying is likely your plan. Buying programmatically means that you select the impression count you can afford, and attach audience attributes as needed, sending your ads to a broad spectrum of sites and placements over a period of time. You’ll name the impression count, audience type and reach, and the digital network will serve your ads in adherence with the “rules” you’ve generated.

Are you looking for an audience that is consuming specific kinds of content, like entertainment, news, or sports? Get more granular with a direct buy. Going to a trusted site like MLive.com gets you a trusted, brand-safe platform where your message appears among content categorically. You can choose types of content to live alongside, like sports, for instance. All or some of the sports articles on MLive.com would then contain advertisements for your business. This works for most websites, as buying direct is an easy way to get exactly what you want, rather than leave it to the hands of technology alone.

Either way, the activity with your ads is more trackable than television or radio. You know just how many times your ad appeared and in front of how many individuals. You can dictate the type of person to whom the ad is served and watch as clicks and site traffic increases. Pair this activity with paid search, and you’ll find that attention increases even more.

Whatever your Budgeting Plan for 2020, know that you’ll be among more advertisers than ever before, and your ability to know your audience, understand and track their interactions will be increasingly important. Even if MLive isn’t your chosen partner, we hope you’ll consider the changing landscape as you build budgets for 2020.

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