Final tallies of ad spending are coming in and for anyone watching TV, surfing the internet, or checking their mailbox, the numbers are unsurprising. In numbers tallied by AdImpact, the 2022 Midterm Election was the most expensive to date totaling $8.92 billion, and almost eclipsed spending in the 2020 Presidential Election of $9.04 billion. Certainly inflation can be attributed to part of the leap, but the numbers still more than double the 2018 Midterm Election which came in at $3.96 billion.
The most popular category of spending in 2022 was broadcast television, with $4.7 billion spent on that platform, or 73% of total spending. $1.7 billion was spent on cable, and $980 million on digital ads on Facebook and Google. Notably, there was a significant 45% decline in Facebook and Google ads from 2020.
What may be a surprise to Wisconsinites is that the Badger State did not crack the top five in ad spending, though we still registered a strong 7th place among all states.
Republicans were largely outspent across the board by Democrats. Combining House, Senate, and Gubernatorial elections, Democrats spent $390 million more than Republicans, $2.11 billion vs. $986 million. While outside groups spent almost evenly between Ds and Rs, Democrat candidates more than doubled Republican candidates in total ad spending.
So what are the implication for 2024? Expect more than $10 billion to be spent, and Wisconsin won’t be left alone. Our perpetual swing state status in presidential elections means campaigns will be spending heavily here, not to mention a U.S. Senate seat race where Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) is up for re-election.