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Political Ad Spending on Pace to Hit Record $9.7B

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ALEXANDRIA, Va.—--AdImpact has increased its forecasts for political ad spending in the 2022 midterms to nearly $10 billion ($9.7 billion) in a new report that also shows large amounts of political ad dollars are shifting to connected TVs.  

Traditionally political ad spending has been higher in presidential elections. So far, however, the 2022 cycle has been outpacing the 2020 cycle and is on track to become the most expensive American election in history, the researchers said. 

Those projections come on the heels of Q2 2022 earnings reports where Nexstar, Sinclair, Scripps and others reporting record political ad sales (opens in new tab)

“We are fewer than 100 days out from the general election and spending is on pace to reach historic heights,” the AdImpact report said. “Coming on the heels of the most expensive cycle on record [2020], 2022 is poised to be the second consecutive cycle to surpass the $9B threshold. To date, we have already seen a record $4.88B placed for this political cycle.” 

“An increasingly polarized electorate and easily accessible online fundraising tools have been major factors propelling this surge in spending,” the report stated. “With massive increases in political expenditures coming year after year, a new norm has been established in the world of political advertising. It no longer takes a presidential ticket at the top of the ballot to push a cycle near the $10B threshold.” 

The report also highlighted a notable shift in spending to connected TVs, with about $300 million already spent in connected TV ads, or about 13% of the total spent so far.  

By the end of this election cycle, AdImpact is estimating that about $1.44 billion will be spent on connected TV ads (14.92% of the $9.7 billion total), $1.54 billion on cable (15.93%), $1.44 billion (14.92%) on digital, $0.27 billion (2.77%) on radio and $4.98 billion (51.45%) on broadcast TV (51.45%). 

AdImpact also noted that $3.96 billion was spent in the entire 2018 midterms and that spending in 2022 has already surpassed that, with $4.88 billion spent.  

The report projects that Senate spending will hit $2.37 billion and political spending for House races will hit $1.88 billion.

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.