Political Ads and Streaming TV: How To Navigate the 2024 Election Cycle 

As we get further into the 2024 election cycle, political marketers cannot overlook the power of streaming TV for their political ads. From the 2020 election to the 2022 midterms and now the upcoming 2024 election, the landscape of streaming TV has evolved dramatically.  

While many began incorporating streaming TV into media plans during the past few election cycles, the drastic viewership growth and ad tech advancements since then make it a critical investment in 2024.  

Buyers have a unique opportunity to maximize the full potential of streaming TV, deliver political ads that resonate, and reach voters in more targeted and impactful ways than ever before. 

Reaching voters through streaming TV 

Viewing habits continue to shift to streaming TV from linear, creating more opportunities for political ad campaigns. Today, streaming attracts a diverse and expansive audience, a large portion of which is no longer reachable via traditional linear campaigns. This growing viewership and increased inventory make it easier for buyers to find the scale they need to reach voters.   

Buyers who used to rely on local news buys on traditional TV to reach voters can now find those audiences turning to streaming platforms to watch news broadcasts, town halls, debates, and election updates. And it’s not just live news—viewers are tuning in to a range of programming, from sports to drama to reality TV and so much more.  

With the precision and targetability programmatic enables in streaming TV, buyers aren’t limited to targeting based only on programs or traditional demographic segments like in linear TV. They can reach the right audience, in the right location, at the right time, with the right ad, regardless of the content they’re watching. 

Finding scale throughout the election cycle  

Building on the learnings from past election cycles, streaming TV has proven to be a powerful tool for driving voter engagement and action, particularly in the final months leading up to the election. In past years, buyers tended to focus on reserves and programmatic guaranteed deals early in the cycle to lock up inventory for the crucial get-out-the-vote period closer to Election Day.  

However, with the scale of streaming TV advertising now apparent, buyers can be confident that inventory will be available in the critical months of September and October, when the focus shifts to getting out the vote. This means more cost-effective buys as well as more flexibility to meet evolving campaign needs. 

Preparing political ads early for get-out-the-vote campaigns 

To fully capitalize on the potential of streaming TV all the way through November 5, political buyers must prepare in advance. Taking a crawl, walk, run approach throughout the year means buyers can ensure they have the right deals and campaign setup in place to scale their campaigns when it matters most.  

This includes creating deals and building a deal library, allocating test budgets to experiment and glean performance insights early on, and working with ad tech partners to address unique campaign needs.  

Being prepared in advance ensures that buyers can hit the ground running when it comes time to ramp up efforts during the dynamic and fast-paced get-out-the-vote phase of the cycle. This allows for the flexibility to add new creatives, optimize campaigns, and make the most of available budgets in the final few weeks of the election. 

Streaming is one piece of an omnichannel campaign 

While streaming TV offers unparalleled reach and engagement, it’s essential to remember that it’s just one piece of the puzzle.  

Every voter has a different content journey across multiple devices throughout the day, and it’s more fragmented than any previous election cycle. Reaching voters effectively requires a comprehensive omnichannel approach.  

Buyers should extend political ads across screens and engage voters with sequential messages to ensure their message resonates and drives action. This means continuing to invest in display and online video advertising, which offer cost efficiency and added reach across a variety of devices. 

The 2024 election is set to draw historic highs in ad spend, particularly in streaming TV. With unprecedented scale, data-driven precision, and a highly engaging viewing experience, political buyers have a huge opportunity to maximize their campaign impact with streaming TV.  

Want to learn how to maximize the impact of your 2024 political campaigns? Get the tips, guidance, and resources you need.  

Dan Fairclough

Dan Fairclough

VP, independent demand

As vice president of independent demand, Dan Fairclough leads performance, political, and independent demand efforts at Index Exchange. With 15 years of experience working in performance media, Dan continues to explore uncharted territories and find novel solutions. Prior to Index, Dan held a variety of roles in the media space, including at Hulu, where he played an integral role in shaping the performance marketing offering.

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