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Political Bombardment: Midterms Grab Up To 20% Of Total Ad Spending In Some Markets.

Midterm election ad spending this year will be off the charts, according to multiple forecasts. Now new data from BIA Advisory Services show the staggering portions of total ad dollars that will come from political ad budgets in key markets.

“Political local ad spends of $8.6 billion might be just 5.1% of BIA’s total ad local ad spend forecast of $167 billion in 2022 but in some local markets, political is accounting for close to 20% share of ad spend,” BIA says in a new report on its Local Media Watch blog.

Georgia, Ohio, Arizona, Kansas, and Alaska are among the states where political will account for an inordinate share of total ad dollars.

Almost 20% of local ad spend in Columbus, GA this year will go to political advertising. That equates to roughly $61.6 million of a total $312.0 million in local advertising for the market. The story is similar across the state in Augusta, where political will deliver 19.2% of local ad spend, or $68.7 million of a total $358.5 million for the market.

The Peach State has had no shortage of political drama during the past two years. After a run-off in 2020 to replace Senator Johnny Isakson (R), who resigned with two years remaining to his term, Georgia has another Senate election for that seat this year. That’s in addition to the typical mid-term U.S. House elections, and a Gubernatorial election this year.

Other states in the top 5 – Ohio, Arizona, and Kansas – also have the trifecta of Senate, House, and Gubernatorial elections in 2022.

Georgia isn’t the only state where close to one in five ad dollars will come from political. Campaign 2022 spending will amount to $63.3 million in Youngstown, OH or 18.9% of $335.3 million in local ad spending. In Tucson, AZ, 16.6% of ad dollars will be political, and 16.4% in Topeka, KS, per BIA.

Since TV continues to capture the lion’s share of political ad dollars, the proportion of TV ad sales coming from the category will be extreme. More than half off all TV ad dollars this year will be election-related in Topeka, KS (57.4%), Juneau, AK (56.4%), Fairbanks, AK (56.3%), Tucson, AZ (54.5%) and Columbus, GA (52.7%). While not mentioned in BIA’s report, that presents a prime opportunity for radio to attract non-political advertisers boxed out of TV this fall by political inventory overload.

BIA focuses its spending microscope on one white-hot market, Tucson, and the monthly boost from midterms in TV and cable spending. According to BIA’s forecast, 62.3% of political spend in the Tucson market is going to TV OTA ($64.0 million) and 14.4% to cable TV ($14.8 million). Working with AdImpact, BIA says through July 2022, TV OTA in Tucson had reached a cumulative $14.9 million and cable $3.6 million. Political ad spend on local OTA TV in the Tucson market “is quickly ramping up and, based on BIA’s forecast, spend will explode over the next few months,” the report says.

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