For good or for ill, political advertising has just one trajectory: “Up”.

For those of us who hope that we’d seen the apex of political advertising in 2016 or 2018, it looks like we’re in for a rude awakening. Just-released projections from Advertising Analytics and Cross Screen Media predict that political advertising will exceed $6 billion in 2020 — nearly half of it allocated to the presidential contest alone.

And if we thought that broadcast TV and cable TV advertising might be leveling off because of the explosion of digital advertising, that’s incorrect as well. As it turns out, political advertising across all sectors is going to be up significantly.  Here’s what’s forecast:

More specifically, the analysts project ~8 million broadcast airings of political ads in 2020, which is significantly above both the 2016 and the 2018 figures. Meanwhile, digital advertising will grow by the biggest percentage, but will still make up less than 30% of the total expenditures.

One thing appears to be completely static, however:  where most of the ad dollars will be spent. It seems that the same ~15 states will remain the big battlegrounds in 2020, so the lion’s share of the advertising will be just as concentrated as it was in 2016.  Here are the report’s state projections:

Might it be time to move to a nice one-party state like Rhode Island, Washington, North Dakota or Mississippi? Perhaps — if only for the campaign season …

For those gluttons for punishment who’d like to view the full report, it can be accessed here.

One thought on “For good or for ill, political advertising has just one trajectory: “Up”.

  1. In the early days of the republic, political advertising existed more or less at the level of scurrilous pamphlets. Jefferson supporters called John Adams “a hideous hermaphroditical character”, for instance. You could express raw anger in a pamphlet. It just didn’t penetrate far.

    Later, when national newspapers came along, gravitas seemed to triumph for a while. Until recently, the New York Times insisted on addressing each politician as “Mr.” The desire to sound impressive forestalled childish personal attack. Bias became more indirect, quieter.

    This was true on early TV news, as well. Walter Cronkite never threw screaming fits on the air. After all, he only had 15 minutes.

    Now, in the information age — where any political tantrum can be delivered nationally 24 hours a day — we have returned to the raw hostility of real politics, one might say. The essence of political disagreement has always been wanting to scream, “How can someone so much like me be such a delusional scumbag!” These days we can forget the niceties again and call each other names.

    Ah, human nature …

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