Record Shattering Political Ad Spending In the 2020 Election Cycle

$4.1 Billion of the $7 Billion Spent this Cycle in Political Advertising Spent Locally on Broadcast TV to Reach Voters

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Advertising Analytics is reporting unprecedented political ad spending this political cycle of 2019 – 2020, shattering all previous records.  With spending currently at $7 billion and with several weeks still left to go until Election Day, this amount is well over the $6.7 billion projected by Advertising Analytics for the entire cycle.  The $7 billion represents an 80% increase over the previous record-breaking cycle of 2018.  The majority of the spending (60%) remains in local broadcast TV. According to the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB), television reaches 86% of registered voters nationally – and campaigns have clearly taken notice. Advertising Analytics breaks down where political spending is occurring nationally this cycle in a graphic that can be found here.

  • Only $247M of political television advertising (including cable) ran nationally, compared to $5.1B locally ($1B on local cable, $4.1B on local broadcast TV).
  • 19 local markets have received over $75M in political television spending
    • 11 of these markets received over $100M
    • LA and Phoenix have each received over $200M
  • $2.63B has been spent on Presidential advertising this cycle as compared to $855M in the previous cycle.
  • $1.67B has been spent on Senate advertising this cycle as compared to $989M in the previous cycle.
  • $950M has been spent on House advertising this cycle as compared to $1.03B.
  • Local broadcast TV still makes up most of the political advertising at 60%.
  • Digital and cable are the second and third largest categories at 18% respectively.
  • 73% of digital spending consists of Direct Response (fundraising and list-building) advertising, compared to 23% consisting of television-style persuasion ads.

“Between a highly competitive presidential race, some of the most expensive Senate races in history, and the fight among Democrats and Republicans to take back House seats, it’s not surprising we’ve seen this level of political spending. Not to mention campaigns are not holding as many in-person events if any at all,” said Kyle Roberts, President & CEO of Advertising Analytics. “As polls narrow and we close in on election day, campaigns are throwing their fundraising dollars into TV ads.”

“Local broadcast TV is the most trusted news source among registered voters. The political ad investments we’ve seen on local TV clearly demonstrate that campaigns and media buyers recognize, value, and depend on this trusted platform to reach voters in this unconventional election year,” said Steve Lanzano, President & CEO of TVB.

Advertising Analytics provides clients with sophisticated, real-time media intelligence. Our product suite provides actionable data about ad spends, airings, ratings, and creative details on both traditional and digital platforms.