World Events

‘Last Man Standing’ for GOP, late-night talk for Dems: Where TV ads can reach voters for cheap

To reach Republican voters, Tim Allen’s Fox sitcom “Last Man Standing” scored as a top-10 efficient advertising destination in all four markets, though it didn’t register on the Democratic top-10 list in any of those places.

Even the same shows could vary wildly in terms of efficiency between media markets, demonstrating how tricky it could be to craft a money-saving advertising plan. For example, advertising on “The Simpsons” was one of the most efficient ways to reach Republicans in Orlando in 2018, according to data from the study, with $43 buying a thousand GOP impressions of the ad. But in Minneapolis, “The Simpsons” was the second-least efficient way to reach Republican viewers, costing $383 per thousand views.

In general, Democratic voters were less efficient to reach on TV, perhaps because Democrats skew younger as a party. But the issue was especially pronounced on local Fox affiliates and live sports broadcasts — though the reach of those events mean that campaigns will always invest in them.

And it’s especially expensive to go hunting for independent voters watching TV, given their smaller share of the population, the study found. The most efficient ways to target independent voters included local news and daytime talk shows across the four media markets Advertising Analytics and Nielsen studied.

While digital advertising is taking up bigger and bigger shares of campaign budgets with each election, the report argues that TV advertising, while typically more expensive, still offers a variety of ways to target voters efficiently.

“Understanding the appropriate media mix for a campaign ad spend is more important than ever,” the report concludes. “Knowing how these pieces fit together has long been a challenge for media planners.”


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