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Weekly Mobile Breakdown: Political Advertising Lagging Behind Tech Trends

Tina Products/Markets Analyst
August 16, 2012

Digital publishing company SAY Media released the infographic below as part of a whitepaper release on American voters’ video content viewing habits. As you can see, traditional live TV is the primary source of video content for 60% of American voters in 2012, meaning 40% of American voters rely on “alternate methods” to watch video content.




However, the broadcast TV and cable TV channels are predicted to comprise 66.8% ($6.6BN!) of total political ad spend in 2012, while Internet will comprise only 1.5% ($159.2M) of political ad spend, according to data released from eMarketer (originally from Borrell Associates). Mobile ad spend most likely comprises only a fraction of this 1.5%.  On the bright side, $159.2M spent on Internet advertising is about a 615.6% increase from 2008.  Considering that mobile video viewership is on the rise in the U.S., it would suffice to say that political advertisers this year are not putting their ad dollars where voters’ eyes are.















Based on the charts above, below are some key highlights and takeaways I think are important for mobile marketers & advertisers to consider.


  • Four out of every ten American voter relies on methods of watching/streaming video content other than traditional live TV
  • About 66.8% of political ad spend will go to broadcast and cable TV this year and 2.9% to direct mail advertising
  • About 1.5% of political ad spend will go to Internet, with mobile ad spend most likely comprising a fraction of that
  • Mobile video viewers comprise 19.3% of the U.S. population


  • Political advertising is not keeping pace with mobile growth and consumer video viewing habits this year
  • Political advertisers may not have their advertising dollars allocated to the best possible combination of channels, some of their ad spend may be fruitless
  • As mobile advertising proves its value and effectiveness, and as mobile video viewership explodes, hopefully a larger percentage of political advertising dollars will be allocated to mobile, come 2016



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