As you are no doubt aware, there’s an election around the corner. And if you think all the political ads are annoying, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, we have a couple more months to get through — and it’s only going to get worse. We’ve seen a record amount spent on political ads. Total spending is projected to surpass $10 billion, with some forecasters predicting it will reach $15 billion.
It’s no surprise, then, that political ads are blanketing the media landscape. Because of that, they can overwhelm other messages in the market. According to data from previous election cycles, car dealerships, in particular, feel the brunt of that. If your dealership is in a battleground state, the challenges are all the more real. Recently, for example, Mike Bloomberg pledged to spend $100 million in Florida to help elect Joe Biden.
So how do you break through the noise? How do you drive sales during a contentious election season when political ads are flooding the airwaves? These two keys will ensure you have a winning platform leading up to election day.
A common mistake many businesses make, including dealerships, is to pull back on spending. It’s the same mistake many made and continue to make as a result of the pandemic. Car dealers mostly got away with the reduction in ad spend because of a shortage of inventory and a relatively steady demand. Just as it was with that, though, the gains are all short-term. The effect of reducing your ad spend will reverberate for months.
Unless every other dealer in your market is pulling back in the same way, your rankings and your effectiveness online will ultimately suffer. What a reduction does is compromise all the gains you’ve made over the past year or more to build your online presence. In effect, you are levelling the playing field. So, though you may think October would be a good time to cut your ad budget because of the oversaturation of political ads, you’ll pay the price well into 2021. Instead, spend your dollars more strategically.
In years past, political spending caused advertising prices to increase across the board, but this year is a little different. The pandemic shrunk ad budgets, and we haven’t yet fully recovered from that. The good news is that you likely won’t be paying as much per click as would typically be expected in the weeks leading up to a major election — we’re seeing that with our clients now.
And while traditional media like broadcast requires a lot of planning and production time, your digital strategies can turn on a dime. Your messaging and placement can all be customized in response to real-time data. On top of that, traditional media is seeing the vast majority of political ad dollars. So, this is a great opportunity to concentrate your efforts on digital marketing campaigns, including on social platforms. Still, with so many political ads flooding social media, it’s essential that your messaging be targeted and tailored to your different audiences. With the right marketing partner, you can do that.
Utilizing Custom Audiences on Facebook, for example, allows you to reach existing contacts based on parameters ranging from those who’ve made purchases in the past to customers who open your emails. To a large extent, the efficacy of your campaign will be dictated by the strength of your CRM data. But, if utilized properly, the cost per click for your dealership can be reduced significantly.
By understanding exactly who you’re talking to with your advertising, you’ll be able to have a more meaningful “conversation.” One that has a much better chance of breaking through the din of political promises. And with more than a month to go before people head to the polls, you still have plenty of time to capitalize.