Political Advertising

Voters Report Seeing Trump Ads That Don’t Exist

“Nearly half of voters in a recent survey said they had seen TV ads supporting Donald Trump in the last week. There’s just one problem: His campaign hasn’t aired any, and his friendly super PACs have run very few,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Meanwhile, 52% of respondents said they had seen an ad promoting Democrat Hillary Clinton—just six percentage points more than the proportion who said they had spotted Trump ads.”

Networks See Convention Jackpot

Bloomberg: “The presidential primary season has been a ratings bonanza for cable-news outlets, and it can only get better when the major parties hold their nominating conventions next month. So why not seize the moment?”

“CNN is charging advertisers $40,000 to $100,000 for a 30-second spot during the Republican and Democratic conventions, compared with about $5,000 for a normal prime-time commercial… Fox News plans to charge similar rates.”

BuzzFeed Won’t Accept Trump Ads

BuzzFeed has terminated a deal with the RNC to run political advertisements in the Fall, the company’s CEO Jonah Peretti informed employees.

Said Peretti: “Earlier today, BuzzFeed informed the RNC that we would not accept Trump for President ads and that we would be terminating our agreement with them. The Trump campaign is directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States and around the world and in some cases, such as his proposed ban on international travel for Muslims, would make it impossible for our employees to do their jobs.”

Candidates Not Named Trump Still Must Buy Ads

Bloomberg: “Trump has benefited from free coverage from news media in a way that no modern candidate has (estimated value: $3 billion). His campaign spent only about $19 million on TV ads in the primaries… That was far less than Jeb Bush, whose super-PAC blew through $70 million. Trump has also been a shrewd user of social media, where he maintains a dialogue with his supporters.”

“But his approach, based largely on his celebrity, is one that can work only for him. For everyone else, TV ads are still the preferred means of reaching the most potential voters. Presidential candidates and super-PACs spent more than $400 million this primary season. Total TV ad spending by all campaigns, including state and local races, is expected to reach $4.4 billion… eclipsing the record $3.8 billion spent in 2012.”

Nearly 70% of Ads Coming from Outside Groups

NBC News: “Out of the approximately $150 million spent on advertisements in the 2016 presidential race, nearly 70% of it has come from outside groups… But there is a significant difference by party: 83% of the Republican ad dollars, especially in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire, have come from Super PACs and other outside groups, versus just a mere 2% from Democrats.”

TV Ads Haven’t Worked

First Read notes that “according to the normal rules of politics, millions of dollars in positive TV ads — especially before the airwaves get saturated — are supposed to help your poll numbers. But that hasn’t been the case for Jeb Bush. Per our SMG Delta data, Bush and his allies have spent a whopping $38 million in ads since September, more than the twice as much as the nearest competition. Yet Bush’s numbers have only declined — he’s at just 3% in the new CNN poll, and our December NBC/WSJ poll found 48% of Republican voters saying they COULDN’T see themselves supporting him (versus 32% who said this back in March).”

Do TV Ads Still Work?

GOP political strategist Mark McKinnon to NPR: “There’s just very little return on media dollars anymore in politics, because people just don’t believe political advertising. They’re just demanding authenticity and something that they think is real, and they know that advertising is not real. So, you might as well just burn that money.”

Earlier for members: Have political television ads finally lost their effectiveness?

Super PACs Must Pay Much More for TV Ads

National Journal notes a federal law “protects campaigns’ ability to talk to voters by guaranteeing them the ‘lowest unit rate’ on TV ads near election time. But those laws contain no such protections for super PACs, which are at the whims of market rates that go sky-high before elections.”

“Super PACs are ascendant in this presidential campaign, raising more money and sometimes taking on more prominent roles than the candidates they support. But despite their gaudy fundraising and spending figures, the dollars they pour into TV advertising will only buy a fraction of the actual time on TV that the official campaigns can get themselves.”

Search Advertising May Soon Dominate Campaigns

Google highlights Gov. Scott Walkers’ re-election campaign’s use of advertising tied to search terms in an interesting new case study.

Wall Street Journal: “Among the findings: Mr. Walker’s re-election team raised more money from ads pegged to Google searches than it spent to buy space above those search results, an unusually high return-on-investment for political campaigns; his team also worked with the company to reach more than 5 million targeted voters in key ZIP codes through YouTube ads in the weeks leading up to Election Day.”

“Some people are ditching their TVs entirely in favor of the Internet. The shift means political candidates will have to employ a more sophisticated media mix to reach the highest-value voters – like loyal Republicans in a GOP primary or the ever-dwindling sliver of truly undecided swing voters in the general election. The most nimble campaigns will use these new technologies to their advantage by adjusting their message — and the delivery mechanism for that message — throughout the race.”

2016 Campaign Starts With Mostly Negative Ads

Elizabeth Wilner: “Only 4% of all TV ad occurrences captured by Kantar Media CMAG in the 2016 presidential race so far have been positive.”

“It’s based on a universe of 321 presidential occurrences on local broadcast and national cable as of April 9… Ultimately, 321 is 0.03% of the 1.15 million occurrences we tracked from start to finish in the 2008 race and 0.02% of the 1.43 million we tracked for 2012. But in the annals of preemie presidential advertising, the 4% stands in striking contrast in one respect. By this point in the 2008 and 2012 cycles, all the way-too-early ads that had aired… sought to build candidates up, not tear them down.”

Digital Political Ads Set to Explode in 2016

Reuters: “By one estimate U.S. online political advertising could quadruple to nearly $1 billion in the 2016 election, creating huge opportunities for digital strategy firms eager to capitalize on a shift from traditional mediums like television.”

“These firms – mostly small, partisan and based in Washington and surrounding suburbs – have grown in sophistication since the last presidential election in 2012. A niche sector in a multi-billion election industry, they are poised to play a much bigger role in 2016 as digital ads assume more importance and change the way political money is spent on advertising.”

Facebook Says Ads Sparked Political Donations

“Facebook conducted two experiments with Democratic Senate campaigns this year to see if advertisements on its site encouraged people to make political contributions. The company says the results show it did,” the New York Times reports.

“The results are potentially good news for online political fund-raising — and for Facebook’s advertising revenue, not incidentally — but there are questions about how much credit the social media platform should get for the money being raised. If the results can be replicated, it’s also likely that campaigns will introduce similar efforts on other platforms that combine ads with web content like videos and audio. Google, which offers both advertising and email services, is one logical candidate.”