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US Presidential elections: YouTube overwhelmed with political ads, sees a shortage of advertising space

The brutal competition on Youtube for political ads, coupled with soaring prices, has forced small campaigners to look for other advertising platforms such as Hulu and Roku Inc.

In the run-up to the 2020 US Presidential elections, video streaming platform YouTube is under shortage of advertising space, reports Bloomberg.

Political parties have invested massively in their YouTube campaign to lure the voters. However, the video streaming platform is struggling to find slots to put the ads before the right target audience. This is despite Youtube’s capacity to host endless videos on its platform. The situation is worse in ‘critical swing states’, where the shortage of advertising space has caused prices to double. Youtube, which is owned by Google, had earlier seen a fall in its revenue but the election season has made business flourish for the video streaming platform.

Media Director of Lockwood Strategy Lab (Democratic political ad firm), Cat Stern remarked, “There’s a crunch. All political advertisers are buying in the same states, to similar audiences.” She compared the commercial competition to that of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. “The reserves tend to be gobbled up by well-funded campaigns,” stated Reid Vineis, VP at Majority Strategies (Republican political ad firm).

Fierce competition for ad space on Youtube

The brutal competition on Youtube for political ads, coupled with soaring prices, has forced small campaigners to look for other advertising platforms such as Hulu and Roku Inc. Political ad buyers are exploiting the fact that Youtube viewership has shot up amidst the pandemic. They are also using Youtube’s non-skippable ads to their advantage. Besides, Youtube also sells ads in advance that are placed strategically over the most popular videos.

The increased political ads have prompted a “code yellow” on Google’s engineering staff – an internal label that assigns more urgency to certain projects. YouTube has said that it reviews every political ad more closely to meet its policy standards, in a bid to curb misinformation.

Youtube campaign in critical swing states

Reportedly, the Youtube campaign is even more fierce in States such as Iowa that has historically witnessed tight polling. Political ads are often sold out, which in turn has limited the ad campaigns towards the end of the election cycle. While discussing about the ad space crisis, Flex Point Media (Republican political consultancy) co-founder Tim Cameron stated, “A lot of late money that’s coming on board — it’s difficult to find anywhere to put it.” As per reports, Google has sold over $139 million in political ads in September alone. Contrary to conventional norms of funding political campaigns on TV, Youtube has gained prominence as an advertising medium.

 

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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