Media fragmentation, challenges in reaching younger audiences and a danger of alienating some voters with overly repetitive ads mean that political campaigns will need to be both omniscreen and more targeted than ever in 2024.
That’s the key takeaway from a guide to 2024 political advertising from Samba TV, based on its smart-TV ACR data and two surveys with HarrisX: one among 2,507 U.S. adults in August and one among 1,004 voters in November.
Samba TV projects that political ad spend will reach a record $10 billion in 2024, but cautions that success will require that campaigns incorporate rigorous targeting and measurement strategies to prevent oversaturation.
Candidates, campaign managers, PACs and other stakeholders “will have to be more measured in the way they use their budgets across traditional linear advertising, streaming TV, social and digital channels to effectively appeal to voters who are more fragmented than ever in their viewing behaviors,” sums up Samba TV co-founder and CEO Ashwin Navin.
Nearly half (46%) of voters said that seeing repetitive political ads would likely worsen their perception of a candidate. In addition, 41% of undecided or dissatisfied voters indicated that their perception of a candidate or issue would likely worsen if they were exposed to an ad just two to five times within a month.
Some of the other findings:
While up to 67% of Republicans and Democrats say they’re excited to vote in the 2024 presidential election, only 42% of undecided voters say the same. This indicates that candidates “will need to work harder than usual to find issues that resonate with undecided voters and reach them on the right platforms,” concludes the report.
For Republicans, immigration is the number one issue of concern, followed by price increases/inflation, and the economy/jobs.
For Democrats, price increases/inflation is the number one issue of concern, followed by gun regulation and healthcare.
For undecided and dissatisfied voters, price increases/inflation are No. 1, followed by immigration and the economy/jobs.
Although trust in media is at an all-time low among voters, most Americans still get their news from traditional sources.
In order of preference, U.S. adults prefer to get news from broadcast and cable TV, social media, online publications, friends and family, and streaming TV.
Undecided and dissatisfied voters have even less trust in traditional news outlets than Republicans and Democrats, making alternative sources a good place to reach these swing voters.
More than half (54%) of Millennials get their news from streaming platforms, compared to 41% of voters of all ages.
Younger audiences are less likely to see political ads. Over 50% of those near or over age 50, and 77% of the oldest generation, reported seeing “a lot” or “some” political ads over the last three months, versus just 46% of Gen Zs and 46% of Millennials.
Just 13% of voters overall, and 7% of undecided/dissatisfied voters, trust social media for reliable coverage of current events, Slightly fewer Republicans trust social media to provide reliable coverage than Democrats (12% versus 15%).
While 54% of voters think social media companies should allow political ads on their platforms, only 44% of undecided/dissatisfied voters agree.
For each of the first three Republican presidential debates, baby boomer viewership over-indexed by 22% to 27%, while Millennials and Gen Zers under-indexed by 5% to 8%.