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How political ad spend is reshaping this Q4’s buying trends

With the midterm election 24 days away, it’s almost time to go to the polls. As voters anticipate casting their ballots, advertisers and social media giants prepare for the political ad spend frenzy. Political and holiday media planning are colliding, and global ad spend is on course to rise by 8.3% ($67.3bn) this year, which will likely contribute to a more hectic Q4 than normal. Revenue and spend opportunities are lush in the upcoming month, but with this promising outlook comes new changes for publishers to navigate. Read more: Global ad spend to rise by 8.3% to $881B: WARC’s Ad Spend Outlook 2022/23

Before we look at what’s in store for the rest of the season, let’s turn towards September and assess the ad spend growth. According to AdImpact, political advertising for the midterm elections reached $1.1 billion in media spend, double the amount from August. October 2020 still holds the record for political ad spending with $3.2 billion, but with the 2022 midterm election period projected to generate $9.67 billion in ad spend, anything is possible for the next few weeks. Read more: Political Ad Spending Hits $1.1 Billion In September – Fourth-Highest Month Ever: AdImpact

Understandably, there’s a reason why marketers feel like they’re “walking into a holiday tsunami.” The clash of political and holiday media planning is creating a tidal effect, and traditional local media companies are taking a hit. Because the midterm elections swallowed up a bulk of ad inventory, the market is getting tighter and ad rates are spiking. While advertisers are likely scrambling to secure what’s left, they may be overlooking a prime buying opportunity in connected TV and streaming. Read more: Massive political advertising clashes with holiday media buying, creating a ‘tsunami’ effect for Q4

On the other side of the coin, social media platforms are implementing new measures to regulate the influx of political ads. Facebook recently announced that ad buyers will face a lengthier review process before running election-related ads. Plus, it will not allow advertisers to launch political-tagged ads a week before the elections. Read more:

And while social media platforms create hurdles for ad buyers, dating apps like Tinder are swiftly capitalizing on the opportunity the upcoming election presents. By adding its new ‘Election Center’ tool, the dating app aims to simplify the electoral process for singles between 18-25 — 63% of which think the information on ballots is “overwhelming.” Through this tool, young singles can register to vote, locate polling stations, and ‘I Voted’ stickers to their profiles. Read more: Tinder launches ‘Election Center’ tool to attract young singles to the voting booth

By adding its new ‘Election Center’ tool, the dating app aims to simplify the electoral process for singles between 18-25 — 63% of which think the information on ballots is “overwhelming.”

The potential silver lining? Although prices tend to go up during elections, publishers see a dramatic increase in conversion rates, content consumption, and overall user engagement on social and on site. Keeping that in mind, there’s a great opportunity to increase subscriber base, newsletter registrations, and overall user awareness during this period.

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