Navigating Media Campaigns During the Elections

With a hotly contested election around the corner, many of our clients are asking for recommendations on the best strategy for their media placement campaigns.  Based on our experience, as well as polling broadcast stations and our digital network partners, below are insights and data points to help you make the most informed campaign decisions.


While Covid-19 is still top of mind and the elections are forthcoming, stations are looking to air all types of PSAs, especially those without an end date.  Inventory is being updated regularly, meaning creative should be provided in multiple lengths (:60, :30, :15) to maximize placement opportunities.

Our recommendation is to try to distribute before late September.  However, if that isn’t possible, the campaign should go out when ready and not be held until after the elections.  If organizations wait until after the elections, they may miss valuable opportunities for free PSA coverage, particularly during the important giving season.   While stations in certain swing states  may devote more airtime to political ads, others across the country may not be as impacted and can continue airing PSAs.  When a campaign is in rotation, it’s easier for stations to keep airing it once the elections have passed.  


In-App Mobile

Mobile Apps and gaming have surged to the highest level ever recorded with games alone experiencing 14 billion downloads and nearly 35 billion new app downloads in Q2 2020.  Time on mobile apps grew 40% year-over-year in Q2 2020, reaching an all-time high of over 200 billion hours during the month of April.  This will only continue as the opt-in ad experience reaches consumers within relaxed, leisure environments, serving as a welcome escape from current worries and politics.  During the election season we expect to see performance levels continue without any decrease in VCR or CTR.


Hulu has experienced more growth than ever before in terms of subscribers and time spent on the platform.  While advertising during the election cycle will be heavy, inventory is available for direct buys.  Political ads will account for a portion of their inventory but not to the detriment of brands.  This means political ads are rotated with the same frequency as any other brand display ad and not getting preferential treatment. 

For a campaign running during the election time frame, we recommend securing the inventory as soon as possible as in the past inventory has sold out during certain times of the year, and given the upcoming elections media presence, it is likely to happen again.

For a limited time, all Connect360 Hulu campaigns executed before September 30, 2020 will garner 10% more in added value video streams.  This means you can receive an estimated 35,000-40,000 additional 100% completed views on top of the hundreds of thousands already guaranteed

Targeted Video Pre-Roll

While digital advertising will be up this year during the elections, the key is to cut through the clutter to serve your ads in front of audiences that matter to your organization.  With a majority of Americans working from home, video consumption is at an all-time high.  In order to maximize your engagement during this timeframe, we recommend running highly targeted video pre-roll campaigns together with connected TV.  This will help drive more video view guarantees during the election season.

Display Ad Campaigns (Search Intent, Behavioral Profiling and Site Re-Targeting)

During election season display ads experience growth but there is plenty of inventory for brands to remain consistent and continue to remind their audiences of their day-to-day value.  Issues and causes (e.g., early detection) do not change due to a pandemic or an election. Keeping your message relevant will help your organization stay top of mind.  For example, creative could read “We know it’s your civic duty to vote.  Our duty is to educate our patients so they remain healthy.”

For more information please contact Julie Ellman at 650.579.7811 or [email protected].

About The Author

Julie Ellman

Julie Ellman is a Partner and Senior Vice President at Connect360 Multimedia in the Bay Area office. For over 25 years Julie has been a strategic media counselor for all types of nonprofits, associations, government organizations and PR/marketing firms.

About Connect 360

Connect360 is a leading media placement agency driving measurable results for some of Charity Navigator’s highest-ranked nonprofits, well-known associations, government agencies and public relations/marketing firms.

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