Republican contenders for the presidency are making an extraordinary investment, surpassing a staggering $124 million in video and TV advertising in Iowa, as estimated by AdImpact.
Significance Iowa of the Spending Surge
The Iowa caucuses not only mark the initiation of the 2024 presidential primary but also establish the narrative for the rest of the campaign trail.
“Everything is nationalized now,” emphasized Matt Gorman, a former senior advisor for Tim Scott’s campaign. “How you perform in Iowa shapes a narrative that propels you into New Hampshire. Believing you can conjure momentum out of thin air, with just a week between the two, is a fallacy.”
Unveiling the Expenditure Details
As of last Friday, a substantial 46% of the entire video ad spend for the Republican presidential primary (totaling $270 million) was directed towards captivating Iowa voters, according to AdImpact, a leading advertising data firm.
In the fortnight leading up to the caucuses, entities supporting former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley splurged $7.8 million on ads. This was closely followed by ads promoting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ($6.1 million), pro-Trump advertisements ($3.5 million), and ads endorsing businessman Vivek Ramaswamy ($127,000).
Beyond TV Ads: A Multichannel Approach
Beyond the TV screen, substantial funds have been allocated to fundraising and get-out-the-vote ads specifically tailored for Iowans. These efforts are visible on popular platforms such as Google and Facebook, as evidenced by their respective online ad libraries.
Ramaswamy’s campaign took an unconventional approach, suspending all TV ads weeks before the caucuses in favor of more cost-effective marketing strategies.
Dynamics of Ad Spend and Caucus Outcomes
However, it’s crucial to note that while ad spend contributes to building name recognition, Iowan caucusgoers place a premium on in-person engagement.
“History has shown that ads do not win caucuses,” asserted Tim Lim, president of Lim Consulting and a Democratic consultant. “It seems like Trump’s caucus to lose, and being the biggest spender won’t guarantee victory in Iowa on Monday.”
Broader Implications: Surging Advertising Dollars
Zooming out, the dollars invested in advertising for U.S. elections and advocacy issues are projected to reach a historic high of $16 billion this year, marking a substantial 31.2% increase compared to the 2020 presidential election, as reported by Axios in December.