R&A Educational Series: Local Advertising in a Political Year

The 2020 elections will set another record year in ad spending, and it is important to consider the effects on your local advertising. We hosted our latest R&A Educational Series informational webinar covering the impacts political advertising brings to the local level. Hosted for Window World franchises across the country, we shared successful marketing strategies and tactics to implement in the year ahead.

During a political year, it is imperative to manage inflation costs and pivot your marketing mix accordingly. Local broadcast television continues to be the overwhelming share of local political ad spending, but we are anticipating increases in other media, including local cable, over-the-top and digital, among others.


2020 Predictions

Where will the political advertising dollars go?

We are expecting to see a 35% increase in local political advertising in comparison to the 2016 presidential election year.


Local news will be targeted the most, with local broadcast making up 47% of estimated spending followed by digital at 21% and cable at 14%.



Inventory will tighten for digital video, meaning costs will increase.


As for timing, a long primary will result in reduced spending, of which 30% of primary dollars are anticipated to be spent nationally.


Common Misconceptions

It is important to work closely with your station representatives to get ahead of these common misconceptions and make adjustments as needed.


Strategies to Maximize Ad Budgets

  • Get the most of your television dollars by securing sponsorships with guaranteed non-preemptible spots. Designated placement is key so aim to run adjacent commercials (:30, :15 sec and :10 sec) with promotional spots.
  • Look for areas or dayparts not being purchased by political advertisers. The largest areas of spending include early morning news (5-9 a.m.), afternoon daytime (1-2 p.m.), early news 1 (6-6:30 p.m.), early fringe 2 (4:30-6 p.m.), prime (8-11 p.m.) and late news (11-11:30 p.m.).


Additional Things to Consider

  • Request natural :15 sec and :10 sec commercials. Political candidates do not typically target these spots.
  • Estimate rate inflation and reevaluate cost-per-thousand (CPM). Based on previous results and marketing mix, evaluate whether television is still worth it. If so, apply pressure.
  • Know your political windows and the impact of additional political advertising throughout the year.
  • What are realistic under-deliver (UD) and added-value assumptions?


We hope our Local Advertising in a Political Year recap was informative, insightful and motivational when considering how political advertising impacts your business model and marketing efforts. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please send us a note.

– The R&A Team

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