Political Campaigns find that Online Advertising Space—Just Like TV and Print—has Its Limits

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
(graphic: Steve Straehley, AllGov)

There’s only so much of the best of anything and Internet advertising is no different, particularly for election campaigns.


Election strategists around the country have been planning to use online ads as well as television in their campaigns. But in some markets, only those campaign managers who thought ahead will be able during the closing weeks of this midterm election to run their commercials without interruption on sites like YouTube. That’s because the most sought-after ads—those that can’t skipped by viewers without missing the content that follows—are limited in number.


“Many political strategists don’t think of the Internet as something that can sell out,” Rob Saliterman, who runs Google’s elections team, told The New York Times. “But in these smaller states, just as there’s a finite amount of TV inventory, there’s a finite amount of YouTube inventory.”


Some Democratic and Republican consultants foresaw this problem and booked space months in advance on Google (which owns YouTube), Yahoo, Pandora and other popular sites for their campaigns in hotly contested races.


The Times’ Ashley Parker reported “there is almost no remaining YouTube inventory for reserve buys — the ads that cannot be skipped — in Alaska, Maine, Montana and New Hampshire, and inventory is increasingly tight in nearly a dozen other competitive states.”


Those who didn’t reserve the premium online ad spots will have to settle for those commercials that viewers can click off and ignore, which will make it a lot tougher to get their message across to voters.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Campaigns Find Ad Space Finite, Even on the Web (by Ashley Parker, New York Times)

TV Stations Must Now Post Online Political Ad Contracts (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Newspapers Retreat Behind Paywalls in Search of a Business Model that Works (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)


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