The 2024 US election cycle is poised to be quite the ride for political advertisers. There’s a contentious presidential race at the top of the ticket, a slew of other high-profile races further down the ballot, and a highly partisan and emotionally charged voter base, to name just a few of the elements shaping the terrain. To add to the drama, awareness-building and fundraising efforts start earlier each election cycle, so the wheels of 2024 campaigns are already in motion.

Amidst these complexities and record-setting election ad spend—projected at a whopping $12 billion—political advertisers must have the latest strategies and insights to plan and execute winning campaigns. To that end, here are some key trends that campaign teams should keep top-of-mind as they develop strategies and partnerships heading into 2024:

Trend #1: Connected TV is a Must-See Channel

Linear TV advertising has long been a go-to for campaign teams. It provides a familiar, engaging experience and gives political advertisers the opportunity to promote their messages in an emotional, memorable way. But over the past several years, there’s been a decrease in linear consumption: In July 2023, linear TV fell below 50% viewing share for the first time, with most of the time lost to linear shifting over to streaming. Savvy political advertisers are following these habits—thus reaching voters who watch less (or have never watched) linear TV. Plus, CTV offers political advertisers all the same benefits as linear, as well as the ability to target, measure, and optimize those ads more precisely.

CTV viewership is increasingly popular across all generations, but particularly so amongst millennials and Gen Z. This makes it a critical resource for political advertisers looking to motivate younger voters to head towards the polls, as well as those seeking to extend the reach of their TV buys to audiences who are not viewing linear tv.

Given that booming popularity, it makes sense that political advertisers are continuing to shift investment into CTV. In Basis, for example, programmatic ad buying on CTV grew by more than 60% in percentage of impression share from 2020 to 2022. Strong growth is expected in 2024 as CTV spend is forecast to reach $1.3 billion in spending during the 2024 cycle. To make the most of the expanding CTV opportunity, political advertisers should leverage a mix of buying approaches—including direct, programmatic guaranteed, private marketplace (PMP) deals, and open exchange—to ensure their campaigns stay on-budget, and seek out highly valuable exclusive CTV inventory through select partnerships to extend reach their reach.

Interested in a deeper dive into political connected TV advertising? Check out our comprehensive guide >

Trend #2: Using Advanced Targeting Techniques & Technology to Reach Voters

Ultimately, all elections are won at the local level—even presidential races come down to specific districts in key battleground states. As such, using geotargeting and voter files to reach voters based on geography is an established practice for political advertisers. But as technology has advanced and ad inventory expanded, more opportunities for advanced targeting have arisen. Perhaps the most notable of these technologies for political advertisers? Automatic content recognition, or ACR.

ACR is a technology that tracks what viewers watch on their smart TVs, thus allowing advertisers to place ads in a more targeted way. Though not available on all devices, it is available on an increasing amount of premium CTV inventory. By using ACR, political campaigns can create voter targeting segments of viewers who have seen a competitor’s ad, as well as those who have seen their own candidate’s or cause’s ad. These are segments that can be layered on top of geotargeting and voter files, allowing digital buyers to make even more personalized impact and extend reach to non-linear households. And though this technology is not brand new, there is now sufficient CTV inventory—due to increased viewership—that political advertisers can leverage it at scale for their 2024 campaigns.

Trend #3: Use Interest-Based Messaging and Break Through Mis- and Disinformation

The third and final trend that political advertisers should keep top-of-mind heading into 2024 is the importance of crafting relevant and interest-based messaging—especially in the context of mis- and disinformation. False and/or misleading content is, to some extent, inevitable during an election cycle, and most constituents will encounter it at some point. This is, in no small part, due to the growth of social media platforms and other online spaces where inflammatory online discussions can run rampant. To make matters worse, many major tech companies (think: Meta, Google, Amazon, X, and Alphabet) have recently made major cuts to their internet trust and safety teams.

So, how can political campaigns ensure their candidate’s true message is resonating with and persuading key voter groups? In short, by adapting quickly to the current narrative and nailing the creative messaging. Political advertisers can break through the noise of mis- and disinformation by personalizing messaging to create connection based on issues voters care about. Issues will define the 2024 election, and political advertisers will benefit from leaning heavily into interest-based messaging and targeting. For example, reproductive rights will be a major issue discussed by candidates during the 2024 cycle. Aligning a candidate’s pro-choice stance with voters passionate about reproductive choice will create connection and activation. By responding rapidly throughout a campaign and expressing a candidate’s views in a way that is clear, authentic, and emotionally resonant with audiences, political campaigns will ensure their message is cutting through a clutter of news and garner a strong share of voice.

Wrapping Up: 2024 Trends for Political Advertisers

Amidst what’s already shaping up to be a complex and highly competitive election cycle, political campaigns will need to ensure they are maximizing every dollar in their ad budgets in the year ahead. To that end, teams will benefit from using connected TV to reach audiences when and where they’re tuning in, leveraging advanced targeting technologies like ACR, and being strategic with their messaging to break through mis- and disinformation.


Hungry for more 2024 trends? Check out our 2024 Trends Report for everything digital marketers need to know for next year.


In July 2022, Basis Technologies surveyed 50+ progressive, conservative and non-partisan agencies, consultants and advocacy organizations specializing in political marketing. According to their responses, connected TV and programmatic advertising continue to gain popularity among political marketers. While the total amount of TV consumption has remained consistent in the past year, the amount U.S. viewers have streamed has increased 22.6%, compared to declines in cable and broadcast of 8.9% and 9.8% respectively, according to Nielsen. Of our survey respondents, 80% consider connected TV as the most promising development for their digital campaigns. This was up from 63% in 2020 and just 40% in 2018. In programmatic advertising, premium inventory access is drawing almost equal excitement. The growing availability of premium CTV ad inventory through demand-side platforms (DSPs), versus buying CTV ads directly with streaming platforms, is likely driving this excitement.

Popularity of using voter file data also made a big jump. This is consistently among the top five selections in the three election cycles Basis Technologies has conducted this poll. This typical tactic for finding voters still has opportunities to innovate because of continued fragmentation of audiences in digital channels. This can also mean that political advertisers aren’t concerned about cookie depreciation, especially when Google is delaying the blocking of 3rd party cookies on Chrome to 2024. However, the industry may be in for a wake-up call as they are forced to re-think voter targeting right before a big 2024 election year.

Survey data from past elections (when our company was ‘Centro’) are available for 2020 and 2018.

Section 2: BUDGET

There seems to be a movement towards balance in digital budgets. A majority of respondents say they are allocating between 25 to 55 percent of budgets to digital. Compared to previous years, there are now fewer political advertisers saying they budget 25% or less to digital, but there are also fewer who say they allocate more than 55% of budget to this channel (14% now versus 30% in 2020). These projections are in-line with forecasts from analytics firm Cross Screen Media, which predicted roughly 34% of 2022 midterm spending would be allocated to digital. As an aside, more respondents from Democrat-aligned firms think that their digital budget allocations are too low (48% of Dems compared to 38% of Conservative respondents).

Section 3: CTV

Full-service buyers that have competency in both TV and digital, as well as digital buyers, are winning CTV budgets at a higher rate than traditional TV specialists. Full-service firms saw the highest jump from 2020, when only 29% of respondents stated that full-service buyers won more CTV budgets. The advertising industry is still learning CTV, and it bridges two worlds, which explains why there isn’t a clear-cut winner in approaches. It can be a challenge for traditional linear TV buyers to learn programmatic tactics in general, and an even larger hurdle to understand CTV ad buying within the discipline. There is still more development in the technology so these percentage shares may not move much in the next election cycle.

Section 4: Programmatic

Programmatic advertising is absolutely a key component for any digital political team. It is almost universally used, with 92% saying it is important to digital campaigns, which is a significant jump from 78% ‘Yes’ responses in 2020. The dispute on programmatic is waning in each election cycle—there are zero “I don’t know” responses, which is down from 5% in 2020 and 13% in 2018. As political marketers increase programmatic usage, they are likely to encounter the complexity of the platforms and options, quickly realizing that there are numerous ways to activate the various tactics under its umbrella. That’s on top of all the underlying elements that need to be managed, such as creative approvals, data usage, service models, and interconnection to non-programmatic digital tactics.

As referenced earlier, the use of programmatic and CTV among political advertisers is likely correlated. Respondents say CTV scale is now the most important capability in programmatic platforms—up from No. 2 in 2020. There is much more inventory available in CTV this year than in the previous election cycle. Additionally, they are available through various tactics within programmatic.

Another change is ‘Customer Service Support’ jumping from No. 7 in 2020 to No. 2. More value is being placed on hands-on interactions with partners in programmatic. We can deduce that some of this is related to the general complexity in the data, inventory, creative approval and measurement used for this technology. Creative approval is not yet fully automated and much of programmatic-driven campaigns still rely on the expertise of people and the activation of partners on behalf of candidates and their agencies.

Section 5: Great Resignation

In every election cycle survey, Basis Technologies asks a question unique to this moment in time. In 2022, staffing is a challenge for numerous organizations, but this doesn’t seem to affect the majority of marketing teams for political organizations—58% say that the Great Resignation hasn’t impacted their firms. In this segment of politics and marketing, fluidity in staffing may be the norm especially before and after elections season. Perhaps agencies and consulting firms are ready to weather the activity and the lulls. However, it should be noted that more than 40% say they are being affected with turnover in some form.

Section 6: Concerns

The shifting of policies is the top concern again, although it is down from the number of respondents that noted it in 2020 (81%). The pace of new restrictions being announced to target political advertising has indeed slowed. Targeting specific voters was again No. 2, although also down from its 2020 percentage (66%). Digital teams noting cookie depreciation as a concern indicates that this is still a concern even if Google’s deadline is a few years away. Marketers could be using this year as an opportunity to try tactics that don’t reply on third-party cookies, knowing that this may be the norm in 2024. As always, finding the right talent will be a concern for a significant portion of the respondents. Staffing is generally a challenge for political cycles, but there is likely increased difficulty because of the complexity of digital, the increased use of programmatic technology, and high competition for experienced buyers.

Section 7: Political environment

There is relatively less uncertainty and less concern of how the current political environment will impact outcomes. In 2020, an overwhelming majority said they were not sure and only 6% stated there will be no impact. This year’s responses to this question is more in line with 2018, with 21% saying there will be ‘No impact,’ and 51% saying ‘Yes, but not sure which way.” These questions were posed to marketers after they’ve been able to observe how major events such as the Russian war in Ukraine, Roe vs. Wade decision, inflation and the Uvalde shooting were affecting sentiments in different communities. The numbers that closely reflect 2018 responses could be due to factors such as this election being a midterm much like 2018, or that 2020 was a unique confluence of a Presidential Pandemic Year Election.

Section 8: Final thoughts

Basis Technologies asked respondents to write-in the topics or issues that will impact their work the most. Clearly, digital buyers have inventory and premium media on their radars. Actual voter issues are not the main concern for marketers. However, ultimately, they want voter turnout because elections have only two outcomes—you win or you lose.


As a thank you to our industry peers and partners, Basis Technologies is donating $250 to Feeding America, Autism Speaks, and the International Red Cross, as selected by survey respondents.

About Basis Technologies’ Candidates and Causes Group

Basis Technologies is a leading provider of cloud-based workflow automation and business intelligence software for marketing and advertising. It’s Candidate and Causes team has been trusted by agencies and consultants in politics, public affairs, and advocacy. Its Basis platform is composed of integrated applications that automate manual operations, standardize business processes, and improve marketing and advertising performance. Basis provides a comprehensive selection of unique buying methods across all channels and devices, utilizing all major creative types and formats. Since 2008, Basis Technologies has helped power digital media for over 1,500 political campaigns and independent expenditure committees, and over 2,000 issue advocacy advertisers. In 2020, among the 400+ U.S. elections campaigns working with Basis Technologies, 70% had winning outcomes.