Candidates Should Pursue Younger Voters Across Screens, Samba TV Study Finds

Election Ad Campaign Spending

A study from Samba TV found that younger voters are less likely to see political commercials and in order to reach them, candidates should take more of a multiscreen approach to campaigning.

The study, based on Samba TV data and a survey by HarrisX, found that just 46% of Generation Z and millennials reported that they’ve seen “a lot” or “some” political ads over the last three months.

That compares to more than 50% of people over the age of 50 saying they’ve seen multiple political ads.

Since viewers said that commercials for President Joe Biden and Donald Trump tend to be misleading, nearly half said seeing repetitive political ads would likely worsen their perception of a candidate.

At the same time, 54% of millennial voters said they get their news through streaming platforms, compared to 41% overall.

“We are anticipating a record-breaking $10 billion in political spend for the 2024 election after the biggest midterm spend in 2022 and a massive $8.5 billion spend in the 2020 election cycle,” Samba TV co-founder and CEO Ashwin Navin said. “Candidates, campaign managers, PACs and other stakeholders will have to be more measured in the way they use their budgets across traditional linear advertising as well as streaming TV, social and digital channels to effectively appeal to voters who are more fragmented than ever in their viewing behaviors.”

The study also found that trust in media among Americans has eroded, with undecided and dissatisfied voters even more dubious about traditional news outlets. That makes alternative sources a good place to reach swing voters, Samba TV said.

Voters said they don’t trust social media to provide reliable coverage of current events, with just 13% saying they trust social media for reliable coverage. 

While 54% of voters think social media companies should allow political ads on their platforms, only 44% of undecided or dissatisfied voters agree.

“Despite the dwindling trust in traditional media, it remains a vital platform for reaching voters,” Navin said. “However, the 2024 election will demand that campaigns incorporate rigorous targeting and measurement strategies to prevent oversaturation. Interestingly, our data shows that 41% of undecided or dissatisfied voters claimed their perception of a candidate or issue would likely worsen upon seeing an ad repeated too frequently within a month.”

The study is Samba TV’s first-party automatic content recognition data, along with two surveys of U.S. adults with HarrisX. The first survey was conducted online within the United States from August 22-30 among 2,507 adults by HarrisX. The sampling margin of error of this poll is plus or minus 2 percentage points. 

The second survey was conducted online from November 7-8 among 1,004 U.S. registered voters by HarrisX. The sampling margin of error of this poll is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.