With November quickly approaching, it’s safe to say that we have already been encountering politically charged advertising penetrating every corner of the internet. In fact, in 2016’s election, digital ad spend was unprecedented, reaching $1.4 billion. This year we even watched as Michael Bloomberg spent $94 million on digital media by the end of February.
Your business is not running for president, so what does this have to do with your digital advertising strategies?
Unfortunately, political ads have the ability to significantly impact digital marketers across a wide range of industries and locations. Although achieving success on your next digital campaign may take some re-strategizing, it is possible. Here’s how you can tackle the top three challenges you might encounter this election season.
1. Changes or restrictions from advertising platforms
Several digital platforms have begun to put restrictions on political advertisements in an effort to combat misinformation. For example, Twitter has banned political advertising all together. Google has limited targeting options for political ads. Facebook is still allowing political ads but they have created stricter guidelines. In addition, Washington has banned all election-related digital ads, and other states could follow suit.
Even if you aren’t running an ad related to the election, you may still be impacted by some of these restrictions. For example, if you are running an ad that is related to a hot-button topic such as healthcare or sustainable energy, you may be disapproved by a platform. That’s why, during election season, you may have to adjust your strategy to avoid any topics that may be considered political. If you decide to go forward with these topics, you’ll have to be prepared in case your ads are rejected and leave yourself with enough time to make revisions. Keep in mind that if you do get approved, you may find yourself with less competition and higher click-through rates due to the close monitoring platforms are conducting on potentially political keywords.
2. Increased digital advertising costs
With political advertisements running amok in the digital sphere, you may encounter increased competition for keywords, leading to higher costs. For example, if you’re running a campaign about a hotly contested topic of the 2020 election cycle – like climate change – you may find that essential keywords are just too expensive due to the amount of competition you’ll be facing.
Make sure you have a backup plan in place in case digital advertising costs or volume of the competition become too high. You may want to seek out other advertising platforms for the time being. Twitter is a great place to start since election ads are already banned there. You might even want to consider pausing digital advertisements for a while and focusing on other strategies, such as email or print marketing. Or, the solution may be as simple as running a different campaign with less expensive keywords.
3. Growing apathy toward ads
Understandably, during election season, people tend to lose trust in digital advertisements. When bombarded with political ads, users naturally will begin to distrust claims made by any digital advertisement – whether or not they are political. Audiences can also begin to experience “ad fatigue.” They’re just sick of seeing advertisements all together and start to ignore them.
That’s why it’s especially important during this time to make sure your ads break out of the mold. Consider capitalizing on the sentiments of the time: ads that talk about values and morals may perform well during an election cycle that, at times, lacks both. If your ads do revolve around a politicized topic, be prepared to pivot if they are spit out by the platform. Switching to a more lighthearted campaign could help you break through your audience’s ad apathy.
Keep in mind that swing states are most likely to be experiencing growing irritation with digital ads since presidential candidates will be focusing a lot of their advertising on these key areas. If you’re planning to target a swing state, be aware that you will be facing heavy competition and your audience may not be as receptive. If possible, you may want to consider advertising in other locations. Or, make sure your ad is one that will stop your audience in their scroll.
Make the best of election season with a foolproof marketing strategy.
Whether or not you decide to proceed with digital marketing during the months leading up to the 2020 election, having a well-thought-out strategy that supports your decisions and provides you with backup plans will help you conquer any challenges you may face. Be a breath of fresh air in the digital ad space with great creative outputs, and, most importantly, always tell the truth.
You may not be running for president, but you’ll still be a winner in our books.