Earlier this year, Vivvix CMAG took a look at the 2024 presidential ad campaign spending in the books thus far and projected record-breaking activity for the coming summer and fall. Six months later, we may have undersold our initial analysis.
Though April data indicated we were on pace for a great deal of activity, we clocked only $2M in ad spending from presidential campaigns. Updating these numbers through mid-October, we have now tracked $89M in presidential ad spending with over 97,000 ad airings.
This finding dovetails with our analysis concerning the overall political advertising environment for the 2024 general election; projected to exceed $11 billion. Looking at the relevant timespan comparisons from 2015 and 2019 with a view toward their respective elections, these numbers are even more jarring. In 2015 Vivvix CMAG tracked 34 campaigns/PACs airing only $40M in ad spend with 28,693 occurrences. While in 2019 we tracked 27 campaigns/PACs airing $39M worth of inventory with 74,093 airings.
The disparity between those cycles and 2023 is noteworthy on its own but is made even starker when considering there was no incumbent for the 2016 election, so both sides of the aisle were jostling for electoral positions. The squabble of the GOP primary has been well documented, but rumors of an ailing Biden along with ethics probes feed speculation that a challenger may rise who is more viable than RFK Jr. and Marianne Williamson.
To date, 50 PACs and campaigns have taken to the airwaves in 2023. Five have emerged as the biggest spenders and, unsurprisingly due to their being out of power, four of them are GOP-aligned. Trump-supporting Make America Great Again leads the pack with $20M on 10,326 ad airings on national cable, Iowa and New Hampshire markets. Never Back Down—the PAC supporting Ron DeSantis—comes in second place, spending $16M on 15,089 occurrences on national cable, national network, New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada markets.
Rounding out the top five spenders is the Gov. Doug Burgum-aligned Best of America PAC; spending $8.2M on 5,972 ad airings appearing on national TV, national cable as well as New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, New York and Florida DMAs. President Biden-aligned PAC Future Forward has spent $7M on ads airing 4,643 times on national cable, Washington, DC; Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada and Pennsylvania DMAs. The PAC supporting Nikki Haley, SFA Fund, ranked fifth with a $5.5M expenditure on 7,300 airings on national cable, national TV as well as Iowa and New Hampshire markets.
While digital advertising and OTT/CTV will claim their share of the pie, rumors concerning the death of broadcast/linear TV have been overstated. In the political advertising space, broadcast TV is more insulated from digital market forces than other advertising sectors. It’s a media preferred by middle-aged and older people. Any guess as to who are the most reliable voters?
Written by Geoffrey Pereira, Vivvix CMAG