Sep 14 2020
Basis Technologies

Election Advertising 2020: Countdown to November 3rd


Centro’s Candidates and Causes team has been at the forefront of political advertising in digital media since 2006. In our Election Advertising 2020 series, they share insights for advertisers ahead of the U.S. 2020 General Election.

As discussed in part one of our Election Advertising series, this election season will be anything but normal. Overall, political spending will be focused on the upcoming debates, the start of early voting, and finally, Election Day.

Read on to learn how advertisers can leverage the most important dates counting down to November 3rd.


A series of Presidential debates will begin on September 29th in Cleveland. Additionally, 23 states plan to begin mailing ballots 45 days before the election (September 19th). These states include:

Arkansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming*

*Bolded state names signify swing states

Implications: With voters officially receiving ballots this month, advertisers should expect to see an impact on rates in the key states listed above. Overall, and outside of early voting states, political spending will progressively ramp up throughout the month, with higher spending across channels—connected TV in particular.

Geographies: While the most notable impact will be felt in battleground (or swing) states, earlier impacts may be seen in any of the 23 states listed above.


October will be a key period, with two Presidential debates scheduled for October 15th and 22nd. Mail-in voting and in-person absentee voting will also start across the majority of states.

Implications: With the projected uptick in early voting, no longer will demand spike in just the final few weeks of the cycle. Instead, noticeable rate pressure is expected begin in October across much of the country. For those states that do not offer early or absentee voting, expect spending to spike in the final 2-3 weeks before Election Day. Centro recommends planning for a 15-20% increase in traffic across channels.

Geographies: Impact will be felt nationally, but particularly in swing states.

Check out part one of our Election Advertising 2020 series to get an overview of the advertising landscape. Happy bidding!