MGH conducted an online survey to see if consumers’ TV viewing habits changed during election years. Specifically, we looked to see what action they may take when an informative or negative political advertisement airs during regular or news programming.
Key findings: Thirty-two percent of respondents said they change the channel as soon as they see a political advertisement, and nearly 50 percent said they change the channel or mute the TV during a negative political ad. When you look deeper at the younger millennial survey respondents (18 to 24 year olds), we found that a higher percentage (39 percent) change the channel as soon as they see a political advertisement. Moreover, 19 percent are more likely to record programs during election season to avoid commercials.
Key takeaways: A report released in March from Borrell Associates forecasts that out of the $9.8 billion that will be spent on political advertising for this year’s election, $5.6 billion will go toward broadcast TV and $939 million toward cable TV advertising. So what does this mean for marketers? Candidates are going to hit the cable and broadcast airwaves hard and likely through negative, mudslinging ads. Looking at our results, this means that marketers have the potential to lose more than one-third of their potential audience if a political ad airs – and nearly half if a negative political ad airs – in the same commercial block as theirs. Additionally, marketers that target the younger millennials may have an even tougher time reaching this audience through TV ads, as they are more likely to record programs or watch them online during the election season.
With TV space being limited and more expensive and the most preferred medium of political advertising during election years, it’s essential for marketers to be more creative with their media buys to ensure their messages are getting through this election season. Marketing campaigns should run on a broad mix of mediums in order to be effective and to reach the desired target audiences.