Long before the birth of Facebook Live town halls, there were town halls in real life. Before there were digital ads, there were plenty of those paper ones, minus all the creepy targeting based on what we buy, view and even eat. And then of course, before there were hashtags, there were slogans like "Who is James Polk?"
Videology, a digital video ad platform that works with political campaigns on both sides of the aisle, took a look at the evolution of political advertising all the way back to before the United States of America was even a thing.
"We think of advertising from a political standpoint as something that's been done since the days of Hamilton," Mark McKee, Videology's svp of North America, said in an interview. "But the reality is we've made so much progress in a short amount of time, whether it be use of data, use of internet, use of social."
This year, candidates are innovating yet again with digital ad spending for programmatic and addressable television. According to a new report from eMarketer released today, overall programmatic spending on TV ads (not just for politics) is expected to grow 127.8 percent to $710 million. However, at only one percent of total TV spend, it's still just a small number. Meanwhile, eMarketer predicts programmatic digital video this year will total $5.51 billion, or about 56 percent of total digital video ad spending.
That's all good news for Videology, which will likely benefit from the digital push from both parties. (After all, the company says it's bipartisan.) Campaign spending on digital ads alone in 2016 is expected to for the first time hit $1 billion—a high jump from the $160 million spent in 2012. According to McKee, the biggest digital push will happen later this summer and early fall. However, down ballot races are also increasingly spending digitally at the state and local level.
"This idea of more addressable ways of which to connect consumers is something that hands down everyone is talking to us about," he said. "It's not about these mass market pushes that they're thinking about and strategizing most of their time. It's much more about where are the places that we need to make the biggest difference with a very targeted message?"
Here's a look at some of the ways political advertising has evolved since 1633, along with some stats about the state of digital advertising today: