Report: Political ad spending could hit $10 billion in 2020

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A new estimate suggests political ad spending will grow more than 8 percent in 2020 and could reach $10 billion next year.

The forecast from GroupM says the $10 billion in political advertising is just slightly higher than the $9.8 billion spent during the last presidential cycle of $9.8 billion. Political ad spending during the just-completed 2018 midterms was $9 billion.

Campaigns and Elections says the growth in political advertising is the driving factor in overall advertising across all mediums. For instance, political ad spending was the only reason local television advertising expanded last year. 

Digital advertising should see big growth next year according to the report.

Digital advertising directed to “pure-play digital media owners on mobile or desktop computers” grew around 23 percent in 2018. Political accounted for $2 billion in digital ad spending in 2018, roughly 2 percent of the medium’s total. The growth of digital “should decelerate” according to GroupM.


Ultimately, political ad spending is causing an “extreme variation in advertising growth” year to year.


“We forecast normalized +17% growth [in digital] in 2019 and +15% in 2020,” the report states. But political ad spending will add another point to digital’s growth in 2020.

The news is not rosy across all advertising mediums according to the report. Radio advertising is expected to fall next year, as is outdoor advertising.