How Advertisers Can Stand Out This Election Season

Going past advertising on TV where it will be cluttered with politics

Amid political disruption in traditional TV advertising, the time is ripe for advertisers to explore new channels. - Credit by Getty Images
Headshot of Sara Tucy

In an already challenging and fragmented TV environment where viewership is declining and cord-cutting is accelerating, 2020 will bring its own distinctive challenges.

With the 2020 presidential election just around the corner, advertisers who rely heavily on TV for brand awareness should consider an alternative media approach due to the risk of limited inventory and increased ad bumping. An estimated 30-40% of ads are bumped in favor of political advertisers, according to a report by Kantar. This leaves brands vulnerable to losing TV impressions and share of voice, especially in the 16 weeks leading up to the November election.

Brands must consider how to alleviate any missed sales opportunities as a result of preemption. Their ad strategy should include shifting a portion of at-risk TV spend to other channels proven to reach consumers when and where they are making purchasing decisions. One example of this centers on shifting media dollars into print and digital channels, which hold the largest share of influence (66%) on consumer purchase decisions. One-third of consumers are likely to make a purchase after seeing an ad in print and online.

Brands need to decide what combination of media tactics and corresponding frequency is right for them based on buying cycles, seasonality, share of influence and target demographics. Relying on one media channel alone will not suffice.

Brands need to decide what combination of media tactics and corresponding frequency is right for them.

Advertisers that rely on TV to grow their market share must mitigate the associated risk that the 2020 election season imposes. Three alternative media platforms not subject to cancellations or advertising being bumped are highly targeted direct mail, connected TV and online video.

Leveraging direct mail

Recently, Amazon leveraged print for its holiday catalog campaign, capitalizing on the unique opportunity to stand out and reach the direct hands of consumers. The ability to target print campaigns to a unique neighborhood or market level while also personalizing ad messages allows brands to engage and resonate with local, regional or national audiences based on campaign goals, size and footprint.

Today, brands can also incorporate predictive intelligence capabilities to better target consumers most likely to engage and ensure the highest campaign ROI. This channel allows brands to maintain share of voice and a market presence during an election season when television inventory will be extremely limited. It is proven to move consumers from awareness to action in a scalable, measurable way.

Reaching through the fourth screen

For advertisers looking to stay connected via the fourth screen, connected TV (CTV) is a worthwhile solution to reach audiences with personalized, measurable advertising across all devices. This approach gives advertisers the ability to deliver non-skippable, full resolution ads for greater efficiency and higher completion rates.

A recent survey found that more than half of consumers are more inclined to research or purchase a product/service they see on streaming TV versus traditional cable. With this in mind, CTV is an excellent platform for targeting and delivering content across premium, brand safe inventory and apps, including AppleTV, Roku, Discovery, CBS and Fox.

Digital video integration 

If increasing brand awareness, capturing consumer attention and increasing response aligns with a brand’s marketing and advertising objectives, then online video is a cost-effective alternative media channel to consider beyond traditional TV. Online video provides premium inventory for brands to amplify their campaigns and allows them to easily integrate in-stream and in-banner video via multichannel campaigns.

Amid political disruption in traditional TV advertising, the time is ripe for advertisers to explore new channels to ensure an omnichannel presence that helps capture and maintain consumer attention. Ultimately, the opportunities for hyper-personalization through these channels will contribute to a lasting impact on brand awareness.


Sara Tucy is the vertical marketing director at Valassis and a marketing expert with 18 years of experience in both b-to-b and b-to-c sectors.
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