US political advertisers face challenges reaching youth: Samba TV
Samba TV, the leading provider of TV technology for audience data and omniscreen measurement, today released its comprehensive Guide to Political Advertising: 2024 Report, detailing proprietary Samba TV data and study results as part of a survey conducted with global research firm HarrisX. At a time of all-time low trust and dissatisfaction in media, this political season it will be pertinent for advertisers to look to comprehensive omniscreen targeting and measurement.
“We are anticipating a record-breaking $10B in political spend for the 2024 election after the biggest midterm spend in 2022 and a massive $8.5B spend in the 2020 election cycle,” said Samba TV Co-founder and CEO Ashwin Navin. “Candidates, campaign managers, PACs, and other stakeholders will have to be more measured in the way they use their budgets across traditional linear advertising as well as streaming TV, social, and digital channels to effectively appeal to voters who are more fragmented than ever in their viewing behaviors.”
This data is based on Samba TV’s first-party automatic content recognition data, along with two surveys with HarrisX of U.S. adults (one conducted among 2,507 adults in August and one among 1,004 voters in November). The results indicate that candidates may need to work harder than usual to find issues that resonate with voters and reach them on the right platforms.
Navin continued, “Despite the dwindling trust in traditional media, it remains a vital platform for reaching voters. However, the 2024 election will demand that campaigns incorporate rigorous targeting and measurement strategies to prevent oversaturation. Interestingly, our data shows that 41% of undecided or dissatisfied voters claimed their perception of a candidate or issue would likely worsen upon seeing an ad repeated too frequently within a month."
Majority of Americans are excited to vote in 2024, as top issues differ by political party
- While up to 67% of Republicans and Democrats are excited to vote in the 2024 presidential election, only 42% of undecided and dissatisfied voters are looking forward to it. This indicates that candidates need to work harder than usual to find issues that resonate with undecided and dissatisfied voters and reach them on the right platforms.
- For Republicans, immigration is the number one issue of concern, followed by price increases / inflation, and then the economy / jobs.
- For Democrats, price increases / inflation is the number one issue of concern, followed by gun regulation, and then healthcare.
- Meanwhile, for undecided and dissatisfied voters, their hot-button subjects ring closer to Republicans albeit in different order. Number one for this voter base is price increases / inflation, followed by immigration, and then the economy / jobs.
With trust in media at an all-time low, people are thinking long and hard about where to get their news
- Although trust in media is at an all-time low for voters, the majority of Americans still get their news from traditional sources. Undecided and dissatisfied voters have even less trust in traditional news outlets than Republicans and Democrats, making alternative sources a good place to reach these swing voters.
- Forty-one percent of voters get their news from streaming platforms, while 54% of millennials do.
- In order of preference, the majority of American respondents prefer to get news from broadcast and cable TV, social media, online publications, friends and family, and streaming TV.
- Voters do not trust social media to provide reliable coverage of current events. In fact, just 13% of voters trust social media for reliable coverage, and only 7% of undecided / dissatisfied voters do. Notably, Republicans trusted social media to provide reliable coverage slightly less than Democrats (12% vs. 15%).
- While 54% of voters think social media companies should allow political ads on their platforms, only 44% of undecided / dissatisfied voters agree.
Early GOP debate viewership over-indexes among older households, while Gen Z and millennials skip the broadcast
- For each of the first three Republican Presidential Debates, baby boomers over-indexed by 22% to 27%, compared to millennials and Gen Zers who under-indexed by -5% to -8%. This demonstrates the intense fragmentation of audiences leading up to the 2024 election and underscores how advertisers will need to reach viewers with an omniscreen approach.
- Looking specifically at viewership of the third Republican Presidential Debate, Samba TV data shows that viewership dipped from the first debate by about 22% (going from 6.6M U.S. households to 5.2M U.S. households), but was up 28% from the second debate (4.1M U.S. households versus 5.2M U.S. households).
- The 2024 election will be critical across swing states, which are showing stable interest in the early GOP debates, with two exceptions:
- Wisconsin saw the largest drop in viewership levels between the two debates, over-indexing on viewership of the first debate by 23%, compared to the rest of the U.S., to over-indexing on viewership of the third debate by only 8%.
- Georgia under-indexed most dramatically on viewership of both debates compared to the rest of the U.S., under-indexing on the first debate by -14% and the second debate by -19%.
- Other key swing state viewership between the first and third debates shows that Arizona slightly dipped in viewership (going from an over-index of 9% to 5%), Florida also dipped in viewership (going from an over-index of 33% to 27%), meanwhile Nevada stayed consistent with its disinterest (staying at a flat under-index of -7%).
Who is seeing the bulk of political ads and are those ads working?
- For the two leading candidates, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, “misleading” was the top descriptor of ads.
- Forty-six percent of voters said that seeing repetitive political ads would likely worsen their perception of a candidate.
- Meanwhile, of the crucial undecided / dissatisfied voter base, 41% say that seeing the same ad two to five times in a month would likely worsen their perception of the candidate.
- Over 50% of the near or over age 50 set report seeing “a lot” or “some” political ads over the last three months, with the silent generation taking in the bulk of ads (77% reported having seen “a lot” or “some”).
- Younger audiences are less likely to see political ads (46% of Gen Z and millennials each reported that they’ve seen “a lot” or “some” political ads over the last three months), making it even more important to embrace an omniscreen approach and target voters where they are actually spending their time.
- Looking at a 2020 battleground senate race election, a whopping 90% of linear TV ads reached just 55% of households in the respective state.