The 2023-2024 election cycle is expected to be the most expensive of all time, according to AdImpact, a firm that tracks political ad spending, with political expenditures across multiple media expected to exceed more than $10 billion as candidates vie for the White House and the majority in both chambers of Congress.
The 2023-2024 election cycle will total $10.2 billion across broadcast, cable, radio, satellite, digital and CTV—with half of that spending, $5.1 billion, going to local TV stations, AdImpact said.
This year is pacing well ahead of previous off-years with $652 million already spent on political ads in the first eight months of the year.
About $2.7 billion of that political ad spending will be spent on the presidential race, the firm said, adding that the contested Republican primary and focus on battleground states is likely to increase spending.
The desire to control both houses of Congress—and the slim margin by which each party currently controls the House and Senate—will drive Senate spending up to $2.1 billion and House spending up $1.7 billion, AdImpact projected.
Downballot races—any elections that are not for the president, House, Senate or governor—are expected to see $3.3 billion in political ad spending, AdImpact said.
The gubernatorial races are an area where spending is projected to drop, the firm said, with only 14 races in the upcoming election.
Despite the recent consumer shift to streaming services, rather than cable subscriptions, local broadcast station owners will be the biggest revenue recipients of the political ad spending in the upcoming election, AdImpact said.
13%. That’s how much spending has increased over the previous record of $9.02 billion which was set during the 2019-2020 election cycle, AdImpact said.
Spanish-language ads are also projected to increase 9% from the last election cycle, to $121 million, AdImpact predicted.
The presidential race is one of the driving factors of the predicted increase in ad spending in the upcoming election year, AdImpact said. Political ad spending in previous presidential election years has been steadily increasing, as has campaign spending more broadly. In 2020, $14.4 billion was spent on the presidential race between Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, Senate and House races, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That more than doubled the spending from the 2016 election.
Ad Dollars For 2024 GOP Presidential Campaign Nearing $70 Million (Forbes)