The recent news on campaign ad spending is not good for television networks, usually bolstered by an arms race between candidates.
Trump campaign has spent $17.3 million on election ads, according to data from NBC partner Advertising Analytics. Clinton’s campaign, on the other hand, has spent an estimated $96.4 million so far in ads in general election ads.
Add in ads from outside groups, and Clinton’s number balloons to $156.6 million versus $33.6 million for Trump.
Why is Trump’s spending so low? Part of it — but not all of it — can be attributed to the fact that Trump has raised far fewer dollars than Clinton. But the Trump campaign and other parties has raised around 50% less than Clinton. So why is he only spending ? of what Clinton is spending on ads?
Look to social media.
Donald Trump, whether you agree with him or not, has perfected the use of social and earned media to drive recognition, the main selling point of advertising.
Each week, since the 2016 presidential candidacy process began in 2015, Trump has an inimitable way of maintaining a presence in the social media spotlight. From television appearances, to speech rhetoric, to internet posts, the Trump campaign, for good or worse, has developed a marketing style independent of ads. While the style has established Trump as a polarizing figure in the American public, there is no doubt the controversial chaos has caught the eye of most in the country.
Trump has created more than $2 billion in earned media value, if you believe such a thing is quantifiable.
The name search alone in Google produces 381 million results, as opposed to Hillary Clinton, whose namesake results in 259 million results.
Currently, Trump has 11.6 million Twitter followers and 10.7 million Facebook likes, compared to Clinton’s 8.88 followers and 6 million likes.
The social media gap between the two candidates is only made more remarkable after the consideration of each campaign’s ad spending.
In an age where 78 percent of US citizens have a social media profile, according to Statista, there is a clear disconnect with television ad spending techniques of the past and social media marketing of today.
Regardless of who wins the election, Trump has created a roadmap for how a candidate can by without spending an exorbitant amount on ads. Whether or not someone else exists that can exploit that opportunity will certainly be tested sometime soon.