It will be 19 months before Americans head to the polls to select their next president. However, the media buyers, planners, and consultants who work in these elections might be forgiven for thinking voters have arrived early.
Vivvix CMAG tracked the first presidential salvo for 2024 on November 16th of last year, with The Lincoln Project exchanging pleasantries with Donald Trump. Looking at data in so far for 2023, we can project more spending than we tracked in the previous comparable election cycle, 2020.
Through the first week of April, Vivvix CMAG has tracked $2M dollars in presidential advertising, with the majority of that appearing on national cable with a smattering a local ad buys in NH, PA, IA, NC, and WI. At this point the Democrats have spent more, $1.2M compared to $800K spent by the Republicans with the latter party—not surprisingly—engaged in friendly fire to help determine their party’s 2024 nominee.
The Trump-aligned “Make America Great Again, Inc.” has spent the lion’s share of Republican money with a $600K ad buy appearing solely on national cable. Meanwhile, the DeSantis-aligned “Ready for Ron” has spent only $6K. Recent-entrant Vivek Ramaswamy has two spots airing primarily in Manchester, NH at a cost of $42K.
Source: Vivvix CMAG
How does this stack up compared to the same time period in 2019? Favorably, if you’re a media buyer or broadcaster. For this period in 2019 Vivvix CMAG had tracked only $1.2M in presidential spending, $800K less than our 2023 total.
As is the case in 2023, the majority of these expenditures (76%) came from the Democratic side of the aisle—“Act Now on Climate” and primary hopeful John Delaney. Then-president Donald Trump had the only GOP ads on the air with a $280K buy on national cable.
Furthermore, when Vivvix CMAG taps into our competitive practice data, we can forecast this trend continuing. “Make America Great, Inc.”—the Trump-aligned PAC—has booked another $572K in spending for the week of April 11th, nearly doubling what it’s already laid out in ad dollars.
Combining the facts that the Republican primary looks to be a crowded affair with declared candidates Trump, Haley, Hutchinson, and Ramaswamy as well as not yet declared candidates such as Ron DeSantis and Mike Pence all in the mix and the historically deep pockets of Dem-aligned PACs and the money that comes with incumbency for the Biden campaign, there may not even be a calm before this storm.