2020 Presidential Election Using Digital Advertising and Various Platforms

By: Amanda Young

In the past and what to expect

Back in September, $60.9 million was collectively spent on digital advertising on Facebook and Google by prospective presidential candidates.  In addition to the $60.9 million, an additional $11.4 million was spent on television advertisements. Like seen in the 2016 election, President Trump finds a great importance in investing in ads on digital platforms for this upcoming election.  

For this next election, presidential candidates will put even more money towards digital ads.  Media buyers and digital analysts believe that political tv ads will not be taken over by social media ads.  

It has been predicted that about $6 billion will be spent on paid ads during the time leading up to the 2020 presidential election.  The estimated breakdown of the estimated $6 billion that will be spent includes, $1.2 billion being spent on digital ads, $3.2 billion being spent on broadcast television ads, and $1.2 billion being spent on cable television ads. Kantar Group expects that 73% of ad spending will be put towards television ads compared to only 20% being spent on digital ads.

The Rules

A reason why it has been estimated that only 20% of spending on ads will be towards digital ads versus the other 73% is because there have been restrictions put on digital advertisements.  Twitter, one of the largest social media platforms, has banned all political advertisements from their site.  This, as Twitter would claim, is to prevent misinformation being posted on their platform.  Facebook has also set up guidelines for political ads to also prevent misinformation. It’s important to remember that both of these platforms have been accused of censoring political information an bias. 

What to watch out for this election

Ads for the 2020 presidential election will certainly be pricier than ever.  The competition for having strong keywords in ads will be resulting in the costs on ads to increase greatly.  Political ads may make it more expensive for some businesses to run their own ads if they use the same or similar keywords.  

For this election it is important for candidates to run ads with checked facts to gain trust from the public.  Nowadays, audiences value trust in advertisements; trust draws in customers, in this case, voters.  Another thing to look out for in audiences is “ad fatigue”.  Ad fatigue occurs when audiences see ads over and over again resulting in them eventually ignoring them. 

Sprout Social shared some more tips for presidential candidates posting about politics on social media:

  • Engage using live video
  • Do not rely on platforms, like TikTok and Snapchat, who’s users are a younger audience
  • Make fundraising efforts visible
  • Try to ignore trolling and harassment
  • Remember that not everyone on social media is interested in politics
  • Ask your followers questions and answer them as well
  • Use visual content
  • Post about/share positive topics