After possibly the most talked about, most polarizing, most ridiculous Presidential Election in U.S. history, we will finally know Tuesday night who our next President will be. And I, for one, cannot wait for it to be over. At least the political ads will stop.
We can’t turn on the TV, or watch a video on YouTube, or check our mailboxes without being bombarded by political ads. And if you’re “lucky” enough to live in a swing state, like I do in PA, you’ll have noticed an increase in ads since October. According to reports, presidential ad spending increased by $55 million during the final week of the campaign, with the bulk of spending going to battleground states NV, FL, NC, OH, NH and PA.
While it may seem like political ads air every 3 minutes, it may come as a surprise to learn that political advertising spending was actually down this year, less than half of what was spent in 2012. More digital ad options, coupled with candidates trying to reach younger voters, have driven TV advertising down. Both presidential candidates, as well as those in local races, are turning to different platforms like search marketing, digital video, and social media, all which cost less, to reach their audience. Search ads can target specific demographics and interests. Facebook estimates $300 million was spent in political ads this year. Both Clinton and Trump have created filters on Snapchat. And this year Hilary Clinton became the first US political candidate to get a SnapChat lens, where users can morph into Clinton lookalikes.
Another difference in this year’s ads is that the majority were attack ads full of name calling and criticizing their opponent rather than promoting the candidate’s own strengths. Political campaigns have always used exaggeration and taken statements out of context to get their message across, but this year takes it to a new level. Negative ads may work, but perhaps it means voters are making their decisions this year mainly based on which candidate they oppose more, rather than who they support.
Also published on Medium.