2018 Media Advice: Buy Now Before Prices Hike

Television ads

It’s nearly impossible to escape the influence of politics. For automotive dealers especially, these effects go beyond the usual changes to taxes and regulations. This year, political spending will have a significant effect on the kinds of advertising media you can buy.

According to a recently-released industry report by media expert Borrell Associates, political ad spending will increase by 2.5 percent in 2018. This brings U.S. totals to $8.5 billion. When political advertisers begin taking over media, that leaves fewer commercial spots for local companies and automotive dealers.

Local Elections Make Up Half the Budget

While national elections get most of the credit for the billions of dollars spent by Political Action Committees (PACs) and their candidates, it is the local-level spending that affects us most. In fact, more than half of PAC spending is local or below state level. These organizations are known for having impressive budgets, and in the current political climate, they have only continued to grow.

Borrell predicts that the average U.S. Senate race will cost each candidate slightly more than $800,000 in 2018. U.S. House races will cost about half that. And while a local school board race may cost only $650, that money is more likely to come from a special interest group than from a candidate’s own pockets.

How This Affects Your Media Buys

When political ad budgets increase, the demand for advertising placement increases in response. When you consider that many local politicians are inexperienced in advertising buys, it makes sense that they would funnel their money into TV and cable. This type of advertising is inexpensive per spot, and it can be easily localized.

To avoid the higher prices that come along with increased demand, it’s smart to secure your second-half 2018 media buys now.

When it comes to political advertising, it’s clear that cable and digital media are here to stay. Look out for an upcoming article on using online advertising to get the most out of your money – no political savvy required.

About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as an account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40.” In 2018, Strong was named CEO of the Year by the BBJ. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.


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