2012 Political Advertising Overview
What’s in store for advertisers on the local level?
When it comes to projecting advertising spend we track the national trends, but these don’t always capture the local market conditions and challenges.
When we are planning and buying broadcast media for our clients, it’s important that we have a good sense of the local landscape.
Here are some key considerations for your local advertising plan by region:
• Ohio is traditionally a fierce battleground state for presidential elections, impacting all of the DMAs in the state and 2012 will not be any different. Some markets have seen political preemptions in Q4 2011 and should be very active through next November. The state will have tight congressional and senate races, as well as a major influx of presidential dollars and possibly issue money.
• Indiana was a battleground state during the 2008 presidential election when political spending topped $23 million in Indianapolis alone.
There are several local races including: Governor, office of Attorney General, Secretary of State, Senate and Congressional seats. As a result, markets are projecting increases of 10%-20% in April, September and October.
The Super Bowl will also be a factor in Indianapolis. The event will drive viewership and cause higher demand than normal in January and February.
• Illinois has not traditionally seen heavy political spending. Issue dollars are projected to have the biggest impact on inventory. In the smaller DMAs around the state, local advertising is only expecting moderate increases in February and October.
• All eyes have been on Iowa lately. There is heavy political spending for the early caucus, as well as the mid-year primary leading up to the general election. Iowa political spending also impacts surrounding DMAs such as Omaha, where there is a high viewership in Iowa.
• Virginia is expected to be an important swing state in 2012. High political spending across the state is expected with the open senate election between two former governors, Tim Kaine and George Allan. Because this is an open election without an incumbent, primary activity is going to start early.
• North Carolina is gearing up for another big political year. While it is yet to be determined if the state will see the same presidential political spending as 2008.
There are several local races already heating up for Governor, Lt. Governor and several congressional districts that will have a major impact on advertising inventory. Charlotte is also the home of the 2012 Democratic Convention, which could increase market activity leading up to the general election.
• South Carolina is another state with an important early presidential primary. Major markets in the state can see over a 30% increase during the primary windows, but anticipate far more modest increases for the general election. This is another state where the advertising will bleed into surrounding DMAs located in North Carolina and Georgia.
• While Georgia is not expected to see a large amount of presidential political spend outside of the primary, the gubernatorial and congressional races are still projected to generate increases around 15% – 30% and keep inventory tight.
Georgia is also known for holding run-off elections, which bridge the established political windows and keep demand on inventory extremely high through the end of the year.
• Florida is another important battleground state for the 2012 presidential election. The political pressure is expected to hit early, then again in Q3 leading into the election. Like most states, the advertising landscape will differ by DMA, with greater spending in the southern half of the state vs. the northern markets in the Panhandle.
• Tennessee is not expected to see heavy presidential spending for the general election. Local congressional races and issue money is expected to increase market revenues more than 30%. More political activity is expected in the eastern and western areas in the state, with moderate spending in central Tennessee.
• Kentucky is not forecasting major increases in 2012. While there will be local congressional races and issue dollars impacting the market, most of the major local offices were elected in 2011. Moderate increases expected in the state’s major DMAs, including Louisville, which historically receives some of the dollars from Indiana due to high viewership in the neighboring state.
• Arkansas is anticipating another crazy political year centered around the general election window with increases upwards of 30% in major DMAs. There are also tight congressional races expected in several districts impacting inventory.
• Local races in Alabama are expected to increase local revenues by 30% in some markets. The expenditures will be highest April – June and August – November.
• Similar to Kentucky, Mississippi holds its major local elections in odd years, resulting in a softer political landscape in 2012. Moderate increases are expected for congressional and senate races.
Hang on to your hats for a crazy year in local broadcast!
It’s important to plan and purchase your local media early. This will allow for lower rate negotiations and higher levels of protection, especially if you run media schedules inside the political windows.
Next week we are going to take a break from all of this political talk and focus on media trends. Should increased adoption of the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) change the way that you purchase media? We are going to explore 6 reasons why advertisers shouldn’t fear the DVR.
Don’t forget to leave a comment and tell us what you think.
About Shelby Nichols
I am an Associate Media Director and Manager of Digital Media at Sheehy+Associates. During my 10 years in advertising, I have worked on various accounts, planning and purchasing a wide range of media. I have a passion for all things digital and am fascinated with the way that the media landscape continues to evolve. When I’m not working, you can find me cooking in the kitchen or on the couch with a pair of knitting needles. Cooking and knitting help me maintain my sanity and satisfy my curiosity for trying something new. When it’s warm outside you can catch me out and about on my scooter. Watch out, I actually have my motorcycle license!