There are only 15 days left until the 2020 presidential election on Nov. 3 and, with Democratic candidate Joe Biden ahead in multiple national polls by up to 10 percentage points, the swing states are literally up for grabs. New this year: a Democratic frontrunner whose political power moves involve widespread television campaign ads in the most unlikely places.
“What Biden’s campaign is doing is pretty unique,” said John Link, vice president of Advertising Analytics. “They have been able to run a fully funded campaign in a broad array of swing states, while also expanding to national buys allowing them to expand their reach without sacrificing attention to key states and potentially saving money."
The Biden campaign has realized that purchasing national ads in bulk instead of buying small, local ads actually saves them money.
“We are looking at a very wide map right now,” Becca Siegel, the Biden campaign’s chief analytics officer. “Normally at this stage of the campaign, we would be narrowing in. But at this stage of the campaign, we have a lot of pathways that have opened up.”
A national campaign ad that runs during a popular show, for example, has been found more likely to be viewed by a wider audience than a television spot later in the evening when there is less likelihood of attention span from viewers.
Biden ads have been running during football games at a much larger rate than Trump's offerings. A sign that Biden is attempting to reach younger and middle-aged men who comprise more of the Republican’s base and are often harder to reach via TV because they watch less of it than women.
The campaign to re-elect President Donald J. Trump is skilled in advertising across television and streaming platforms, but they are using a different approach than the Biden campaign.
“Television ads are a small piece of the voter outreach puzzle, and with our $350 million data operation, the Trump campaign utilizes them in the most strategic, surgical way possible,” said Trump campaign spokeswoman Samantha Zager. “It makes no sense to run TV ads in states we know we’re going to win, and in other states, they’re a useful tool to reach the right voters with the right message.”
The Trump campaign is looking to harness the energy from their social media networks to, well, trump Biden. Ad Analytics reported that Trump is currently ahead in the digital advertising war by $174 million to Biden’s $141 million.
Still, Biden's campaign has some money to burn and they are about to use it. The campaign announced Thursday that they had raised $432 million with just 20 days to spend it - so there's no telling where a Biden ad might pop up next. Take for instance where viewers have already seen them - spanning 32 networks ranging from Fox to Animal Planet to the DIY network and History Channel.