Manager, Programmatic

Senior Internet Marketing Consultant, Programmatic

Programmatic Inventory Around the 2020 Election

As the election quickly approaches, marketing teams around the country will see changes in their Programmatic performance as inventory demand increases. The Rise team is closely monitoring inventory to proactively ensure that all brands are serving alongside content they are comfortable with, and that CPMs are remaining as effective as possible.

Historical Trends

Previous U.S. elections provide us with helpful data in predicting this year’s trends:

  • In 2016, there wasn’t a drastic increase in CPMs during/leading up to the election. This could partially be due to programmatic not being a major portion of politicians media buys in 2016; that is not the case in 2020.
  • In the 2018 midterm elections, the increase in CPMs averaged 5-10% higher than the month prior for both display and video.


What to Expect in 2020

In 2018, 40% of digital ad spend was display and 56% was video. We anticipate that video will be even more prevalent this year as we’ve seen slight increases in spend each election cycle.

Additionally, given heightened election interest across digital in 2020, we expect CPMs to increase by 5-15% in both display and video.

Our Approach to Avoiding High CPMs and Controversial Content

1. Use publisher-based bid modifiers to optimize away from websites with increased CPMs.

  • Advertisers can bid down on or block inventory that causes CPMs to rise, and bid up on cost-efficient, brand safe sites.
  • Leveraging this data-driven approach can help avoid unnecessarily high CPMs and ensure that your media dollars are effective in reaching more unique users.


2. Select "No News" Private Inventory Contacts if you’re looking to avoid news content altogether.

3. Include additional contextual keyword-based blocklists specific to the current political climate to guard against any negative content.

Still feeling concerned about your programmatic media strategy during the election? Reach out to Rise for a thoughtful agency partner that will guide you through these decisions every cycle.

10/26/2020 at 08:30