How to Optimize Your 2024 Political TV Advertising Strategy

The last midterm election cycle set a record for political ad spending with a staggering $7.8 billion, surpassing the 2020 U.S. presidential election by nearly $700 million. With increasing political ad budgets, a strong advertising strategy is essential to stand out in this highly competitive landscape.

Multiscreen TV advertising plays a crucial role in successful political campaigns, yet many advertisers are unaware of the full potential and advanced options available. The Ultimate Guide to Reaching Voters, which analyzed ad exposure data from 8,000+ political campaigns across both traditional TV and streaming, offers insights on how to maximize campaign impact with the power of TV.

Advertising on TV: Use a Multiscreen Approach

Combining traditional TV and streaming can help reach potential voters at every stage of the decision-making process. With its wide audience reach and data-driven targeting capabilities, a multiscreen TV approach offers full-funnel solutions. This allows advertisers to connect with broad constituencies for increased awareness or to target specific audience segments to sway opinions.

Traditional TV is the Foundation:
Traditional TV continues to be the driving force behind reaching potential voters. Among the top-reach political campaigns analyzed, 81% of reach was unique to traditional TV, showcasing its essential role.1
Bar chart of share of voter reach among top reach campaigns. 81% of voter reach was TV only.

Streaming Can Support Success:
While traditional TV is foundational, streaming offers additional reach. Multiscreen TV campaigns from the analysis yielded 20% more frequency than TV alone, and streaming impressions were 5X more likely to be delivered to light- and no-TV households.1
Two bar charts, the top chart shows frequency among voters by campaign type. Traditional TV only campaigns had a frequency of 5.5 and multiscreen TV campaigns had a frequency of 6.6. The bottom chart shows share of impressions delivered to light/no TV households, with streaming campaigns at 45%.

Political advertisers should consider a balanced approach with most of their video advertising dollars invested in traditional TV versus streaming. Insights from the 2022 primary elections suggest allocating 10%-20% of overall video investment in streaming for maximum reach.2

Get Strategic to Optimize Multiscreen TV Advertising

To achieve optimal results from your multiscreen TV campaign, use these insights from thousands of past political campaigns to guide your strategy:

Use More Networks and Reach Beyond News

Top-reaching campaigns aired across 3X more networks than those with lower reach.1 Advertisers should aim to include 20+ networks with strong index and reach for targeted segments in their campaigns for optimal results.

As highlighted by the case study below, while news networks are essential, diversifying your programming in terms of number of networks is equally crucial. Limiting political advertising to news networks alone can result in plateaued audience reach.

A Targeted Approach for the VA Governors Race
The current Virginia governor’s winning campaign in the ‘22 Gubernatorial General Election illustrates the power of an optimized approach. By using strategies such as targeted geographic zone overlays and expanding across a multitude of networks, the campaign achieved an 82% total reach against the “Adults 35+ Frequent General Election Voter” segment.3
Line graph depicting reach over time from February to October, growing over time.

Plan Long-Term Campaigns

Start early and maintain consistency in messaging to enhance voter reach. In the 60 days before the election, top-reaching campaigns were on air for an average of 94% longer than their counterparts.1

A Successful Long-Term Strategy for a U.S. Senate Race
One successful campaign for the 2022 Senate General Election underscores the importance of a long-term approach. By consistently staying on air and emphasizing sustained messaging, the candidate achieved greater reach than his opponent, reinforcing the value of a comprehensive, extended strategy.6
Line graph of the Fetterman for Senate campaign vs. an opponent over time consistently on vs. time off. Fetterman for Senate goes further than the opponent when consistently on.

Additional optimalizations such as broadening your timing and airing in high-quality programming can help enhance your multiscreen TV campaign. Top-reaching campaigns delivered 66% of impressions to voters outside of primetime, indicating that voters are tuning in throughout the day.1 High-quality programming delivers high viewership, so aim to distribute 10–20% of impressions in such programming, including sports, for optimal reach.7
Two bar charts, the top one shows share of impressions by daypart with 34% primetime. The bottom chart shows share of impressions from sports, with top-reaching campaigns at 7%.

For more information, download the “Ultimate Guide to Reaching Voters.”

Use Advanced Tactics Like Addressable and Programmatic

TV advertising is constantly evolving, and traditional methods of advertising are giving way to more advanced and targeted strategies. Advanced tactics such as addressable and programmatic advertising offer greater precision and efficiency, helping political advertisers optimize their campaigns in new ways.

Addressable Advertising

The buzz around addressable advertising is growing as it’s proving to be a vital strategy for advertisers. An analysis of more than 70 addressable and data-informed campaigns revealed that over 25% of target households wouldn’t be reached without this strategy.8 For political campaigns, specifically, its use has grown about 20% month-over-month since the beginning of 2021, and this growth is expected to continue.9

Although addressable ads can target frequent voter segments with tailored messages, it’s essential not to overlook broader audience segments, like occasional voters who might vote given the right message. A successful campaign balances wide-reaching multiscreen TV strategies with tailored addressable ads to engage both general and specific voter groups.

Programmatic Options

Embrace the future with programmatic advertising – a tactic that uses automated technology to streamline the ad-buying process, offering greater control over video inventory. Instead of locking into predetermined slots, programmatic advertising uses real-time data and automated technology to bid on ad inventory that aligns with target audiences, especially on connected TV devices.

Programmatic buying is up 80% and programmatic ad views are up 12% YoY.10 If this trend continues, it’s possible that programmatic advertising could comprise half of premium video selling by 2026.9
Bar chart shows programmatic ad view composition by device, with CTV at 81%.

Use a multiscreen TV advertising approach combined with strategic TV tactics and advanced advertising options to maximize campaign results. By adopting these best practices, political advertisers can refine their multiscreen TV strategy for the 2024 election.

To start crafting your multiscreen TV advertising strategy, Contact us to speak with one of our political advertising experts.

*Conversions are website visits as measured by TVSquared.
1. Comcast Aggregated Viewership Data combined with Ad Exposure Data from linear and/or Effectv Streaming campaigns in the Political category (9/6/22 – 11/7/22). Target: Frequent General Election Voters. Target based on Experian & L2.
2. Effectv, “Why TV + Streaming are the Perfect Running Mates,” September 2022. Analysis based on nearly 20 million impressions from Political campaigns during the 2022 primaries.
3. Comcast Aggregated Viewership Data combined with Ad Exposure Data from linear and Effectv Streaming advertiser campaign (Feb-Oct 2022). Target: Frequent General Election Voters. Target based on Experian & L2.
4. ADMO AdImpact*
5. American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC), The 2022 Pollie Awards.”
6. Comcast Aggregated Viewership Data combined with Ad Exposure Data from linear and Effectv Streaming advertiser campaign (July-Nov 2022). Total HHs.
7. Comcast Aggregated Viewership Data combined with Ad Exposure Data from linear and Effectv Streaming advertiser campaign (July-Nov 2022). Total HHs.
8. Comcast Internal Analysis of ad exposure data from advertiser addressable & data-driven TV campaigns (n=72). Nov ’22 – Mar ’23. Campaigns with between 10 – 80% of impressions in addressable included in analysis.
9. Comcast Advertising, “The 2022 Comcast Advertising Report: Actionable insights for the Modern TV Advertiser.” June 2022.
10. FreeWheel, “Video Marketplace Report, 2H 2022: FAST Channels Redefine Distribution.” 2023.