Plan Ahead for TV Pre-emptions and Inventory Shortages as Political Advertising to Top $12 Billion

Non-political advertisers must plan ahead as the November 2024 elections approach, with television inventory shrinking and pre-emptions likely due to the onslaught of political advertising.

Ad spending during the 2024 election cycle is expected to exceed a record-setting $12 billion, an increase of 28.7% from the 2020 presidential election cycle, which fell just short of $10 billion.1

Ad buys from political groups mean less inventory for other advertisers. Political ad spend for television will hit $7.06 billion this year, according to eMarketer’s December 2023 forecast. With campaigns and PACs buying inventory, ad prices may rise, especially for news and business programming.2

CTV and Political Advertising

Led by connected TV (CTV), political ad spending is shifting toward digital; however, despite digital’s growth, traditional media—notably TV—still accounts for most political ad spending.

Although digital will make up over 75% of US total media ad spending this year, less than 30% of that will be comprised of political ads. That’s because TV, while slowly dwindling, remains the preferred method for reaching voters. 1

Over two-thirds of the US population now use CTV, and average time spent among adults is expected to surpass 2 hours per day in 2024. 1 As a result, political campaigns are increasingly turning to this medium to persuade undecided voters and drive turnout.

Despite the growth of digital, traditional media still dominates political advertising. More than 7 in 10 political ad dollars will go to traditional media this year, with political advertising expected to account for 10% of all traditional print and TV spending this year. 1

In 2024, political ad spending on TV will grow by 7.5% over 2020’s figure. This is a huge contrast to total TV ad spending, which will decrease by 1.9% over the same period. 1

How to Win: Plan Ahead and Lock in Alternatives Early

CTV inventory rates can be locked-in and bought early, just like traditional TV, but at lower rates. By reallocating resources from traditional broadcast and cable towards CTV, media buyers can ensure cost-effective ad placements throughout the election cycle—right now.

Advertisers should diversify their marketing mix with coordinated multi-channel campaigns to maximize reach and response and avoid disruption due to pre-emption by political advertising. Consistent brand delivery increases revenue by 23% on average according to Advertising Week reports. 

Did you know?

  • 60% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after seeing an ad offline and online.3
  • Advertisers achieve a 39% lift in consumer awareness when print is integrated with digital campaigns vs. single media campaigns, and they obtain a 30% lift in response when print and digital media are combined. 3

Given the dynamic nature of politics, advertisers must be prepared for last-minute changes or pre-emptions. Plan ahead for potential TV ad pre-emptions or proactively shift dollars to CTV and shared mail to increase reach and response with an integrated advertising strategy. Learn more in our previous post. Click “get started” below to connect with an expert to discuss your marketing goals.

Sources: US Political Ad Spending Forecast 2024, eMarketer report, February1; 2024 is a huge year for political advertising. What does that mean for other advertisers? emarketer.com, Feb. 20, 20242; ANA Response Rate Report3