How can newspapers earn political ad dollars?

Are there any red flags for newspapers to be aware of?


Political advertising is brought to the forefront during the even numbered years when presidential and congressional elections are being fought and ad dollars show significant spending. However, each year political campaigns and Pacs spend advertising dollars to get their candidates' name and message out. In each election cycle, total advertising and online advertising has seen an increase and will continue to do so.

The amounts spent on congressional contests in the past are now common for state legislature seats. This is excellent news to those amassing political ad dollars. As political ad spending continues to increase determining your media's share of the spending becomes increasingly important.  In 2012, newspapers' share of total political advertising was 7.2 percent.  It is forecasted to decrease to 7.1 percent in 2016, according to Borrell Associates, while the dollars spent with newspapers increases, the share decreases. This is a sign of something changing in the system and should throw up a red flag for newspapers to engage more to get a bigger share of the political ad spending budget. Online advertising will increase in share from 2012 to 2016; going from 1.7 percent in 2012 to 7.7 percent in 2016. It will also be the year that online political spending share is higher than newspaper spending.

Download a full-size graphic of the image above.

In order to offset these changes in share, newspapers and other media will need to rev-up their online campaigns to get a share of the online budgets. Some legacy newspapers have also evolved to be multi-media focused and offer niche websites that can also grab some of the online ad spending. These sites and engaging voters can lead to increased online spending, off-setting some of the share decrease in newspaper spending.

What it all boils down to is maintaining hold of the share and dollars coming into a specific media choice. Knowing what areas are vulnerable (and if your media type is among them) is only a portion of the battle. Political advertisers will spend money; the questions really are how much is in your market and what share of that spending is in your media type. Once that is determined, companies can develop a plan of action for increasing their share and therefore dollars spent.

Contact Abby Sineni, research manager for Borrell Associates, at


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here