Television has retained center stage status in political advertising amid a rapidly developing digital space. This is partly due to the fact that many of these developments have enhanced TV advertising.
But also because the digital advancements on desktop or mobile won’t necessarily trump the comfortable passive interaction one has with TV.
According to Media Monitors, presidential nominees, and their contributing super PACs have been widely taking advantage of television advertising opportunities in 2016.
Across 60 top Designated Market Areas (DMAs) studied by Media Monitors, Democratic nominees and their PACs have been controlling the airwaves.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has the highest number of spots at 9,834 in the period from Jan. 1 to Feb. 21 of this year. He is followed relatively closely by Hillary Clinton, whose campaign and contributing organizations aired 8,667 spots.
The Republican with most ads aired in the relevant DMAs was Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (including his Conservative Solutions PAC) with 4,222 ads aired. He is followed by Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who each had a tad over 2,000 ads to their name.
Significantly, Jeb Bush’s failed campaign focused heavily on negative advertising, particularly against former mentee Marco Rubio. Jeb’s super PAC Right to Rise USA ran 1,123 TV ads against Rubio in the specified period.
Other data shows the significance TV holds in the minds of voters. The Television Bureau of Advertising released a GfK study that again puts TV at the forefront of influencing voter behavior.
70% of respondents in a study conducted right after the gubernatorial election in Kentucky in November 2015, pointed to a strong preference for TV for developing political awareness. 51% said TV was the most influential medium when it came to actually changing their vote.
Surprisingly, TV was also a strong influencer for millennials -- it outpaced social media six to one in the heavy social-media savvy demographic. TV sites were also considered the most common online news source, with 61% of respondents identifying such sites. 74% of respondents also attested to watching video ads online.
Clearly, Kentucky does not represent the entire country, but taking such a poll directly following an active election cycle offers a fascinating view of how Americans away from the coasts interact with political information. These reports are more evidence to buttress TV’s staying power as we approach Super Tuesday.