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When placing TV or radio ads during a political window, it’s important that marketers are aware that their spots may be bumped for a political ad.

When are my spots most affected?

There are two major political windows in a year. The first is 45 days before a primary election and the second is 60 days before a general election. During these times, qualified candidates receive the lowest unit rate (LUR) for a spot – meaning they get the benefit of a volume discount without having to buy hundreds of spots. This leads to limited inventory due to stations having to run political ads, and if you are not paying premium CPPs during these political windows, especially in key markets, your spots could get bumped.

How can I improve my chances of getting spots to run?

There are a few steps you can take to help your spots run. For starters, placing your order early, even a year in advance, can help. Purchasing package deals on stations is another way to safeguard your ads. However, we recommend not over-purchasing points per week due to inventory and cost. Candidates typically buy a higher number of spots because of the low rates they receive, which causes a rise in all other CPPs for other advertisers and demand in the market.

Another suggestion is buying more OTT (over-the-top) and digital ads during these windows to make sure your message is getting seen and heard. Within OTT, spots are guaranteed and cannot be bumped for political ads. While we are seeing an increase presence in political activity on both OTT and digital platforms, we find this space to be safe for all non-political marketers from preempts due to the larger inventory available.

How is social media advertising affected during these windows?

Social media is a key advertising tactic during political campaigns, but there are some preliminary steps that must be taken. In response to the issues that occurred during the 2016 election cycle involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, Facebook has taken many precautions to help eliminate the problem. Today, you must create a disclaimer to run any election, political, or ad focused on social issues on Facebook. These disclaimers allow transparency to the end-user about who is paying for the ad they are seeing and how much the advertiser is spending on ads overall. 

We have extensive experience helping brands create these types of disclaimers, including advertising topics such as renewable energy and animal conservation.

While we don’t recommend staying completely away from TV and Facebook, we do suggest taking the necessary steps mentioned above to ensure your campaign is  successful during political windows – placing your buys early, purchasing non-bump packages and putting more dollars into OTT and digital.

Want help developing a more effective media strategy and plan? Contact Brandon Monceaux.