Survey Finds CTV in the Limelight as Political Ads Surge Ahead of 2024 Election

June 24, 2024
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Author: Al Behmoiras, Head of Political Sales, Premion.

The 2024 political season is heating up, and with just a few months until the elections, national, statewide, regional, and local campaigns are ramping up their spending to sway voters and ensure high voter turnout. This year, digital political ad spend is projected to hit $3.46 billion, 45% of which will go to connected TV (CTV) — and for context, only 19% went to CTV in 2020, according to eMarketer.

Political campaigns are capitalizing on the powerful combination of an immersive big screen viewing experience with digital media precision to deliver personalized messages with greater frequency to reach high-value and engaged streaming TV audiences.

To dig deeper into how the CTV landscape has shifted ahead of this year’s presidential elections, we partnered with Campaigns & Elections (C&E) on a survey of political media and campaign strategists. Additionally, in conversations with strategists on both sides of the aisle, C&E uncovered that CTV is now a given in media plan budgets for presidential, federal and statewide campaigns — with CTV investments increasing as the overall political media mix is becoming more balanced between streaming and linear TV.

Our survey found that 54% expect their clients’ 2024 political or issue ad spending on CTV to increase, mirroring the general trend observed over the past two election cycles. While linear TV remains a critical part of the media mix for political campaigns, spending on CTV will continue its upward trajectory.

The findings also reveal a shifting mindset among political agencies regarding the integration of CTV into their media plans. Digital strategists are increasingly noting a trend toward cross-platform advertising and integrated media planning, which incorporates CTV from the very beginning of the media plan development. Furthermore, 46% said they purchase CTV/OTT advertising as a complement to digital media buys, while 45% said it serves both as a complement to digital buys and an extension of linear TV buys. This confirms that political advertisers are increasingly prioritizing CTV as an integral part of a total TV strategy.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of political advertisers identified reach and frequency as the most important reporting metrics for CTV/OTT ad campaigns. Other critical metrics highlighted by political advertisers include impressions down to the zip code level, device/CTV percentage breakdown, and impressions by network. Given the growing scale of streaming platforms and the significant screen time among consumers, particularly those under the age of 50, we anticipate media plans will increasingly combine CTV and linear TV in the same bucket.

Across the board, access to programmatic for political, has increased for this cycle. More than half (57%) said they prefer to purchase CTV/OTT inventory programmatically while just 26% said they prefer to purchase the inventory direct.

In the high-stakes 2024 election cycle, CTV is proving to be a crucial way to reach and persuade voters. No longer an afterthought, CTV has emerged as an essential part of a holistic strategy for creating effective, engaging and winning political campaigns. For more insights on our political CTV survey, download the complete report:

STREAMING TV AND THE POLITICAL MARKET IN 2024: An Election Cycle of Investment and Growth

Read more on MediaPost here.

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