Political Publishers Form Ad Network to Compete with Facebook and Google

The 2020 presidential election is expected to generate an estimated $10 billion in political ad revenue.

Political Publishers Form Ad Network to Compete with Facebook and Google

Source: Digital News Alliance

A bipartisan group of political news publishers has formed its own advertising network – the Digital News Alliance – to compete against Facebook and Google for political ad revenue. Mediaite, Law & Crime, the Washington Free Beacon, Daily Caller, Raw Story and AlterNet will offer a range of traditional and custom advertising packages that include display ads, video, newsletters, sponsorships, social media and other media. The sites have more than 145 million combined pageviews per month, 11 million Facebook followers and 1.1 million Twitter followers, creating extensive reach for the new ad network.

Each publisher has an equal stake and the same terms in the alliance, reports The Drum. In a June 20 news release, the Digital News Alliance said that advertising campaigns are immediately available for purchase, and they expect other publishers to join the group, giving them additional advertising market share.

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According to Tru Optik, a cloud-based platform for connected TV and streaming audio advertising, the 2020 presidential election is expected to be the most expensive in history with an estimated $10 billion in advertising spent to reach and sway voters. By joining forces, the publishers can leverage their combined resources and find synergies in terms of sales and marketing efforts and staff.

America is changing at an incredible pace and growing more polarized in the process. The Digital News Alliance cuts against the polarization and, in so doing, gives advertisers a way to reach the most politically-engaged audiences with a balanced ad buy. said Neil Patel, co-founder and publisher of the independently-owned Daily Caller, in a June 20 news release.

Andrew Eisbrouch, COO and general counsel of Mediaite and Law & Crime, also commented on the ad alliance.

We are very excited to begin this unprecedented partnership. At a time when both parties in Washington cant get along, weve found a way for sites of sometimes differing political ideologies to do important business together, said Eisbrouch.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Eisbrouch said, This is a way to try to bring some of the ad dollars now being directed at the tech behemoths back to midsize political publishers. We want to offer a package that is different from what a marketer can get on Facebook or Google.

Political Publishers Form Ad Network to Compete with Facebook and Google

Source: Digital News Alliance

Advertisers who want real relationships with politically-engaged donors need thoughtful, custom campaigns to attract those whove tuned out ads from the massive tech platforms, said John Byrne, CEO of Raw Story and AlterNet. The Digital News Alliance can deliver campaigns at scale, without funding these tech giants that aided efforts to suppress voter turnout and mislead consumers.

This alliance will help fortify digital journalisms position in challenging market conditions and will bolster our continuing efforts to provide high-quality investigative reporting to our readers, said Aaron Harison, president of the Washington Free Beacon.

To put this spending into context, Tech for Campaigns 2018 political digital advertising reporthighlights some interesting facts on digital ad spending last year:

  • In 2018, $9.05 billion was spent for political advertising for federal and state campaigns. $623 million of that was for digital ad spending.
  • For every $1 donated last year, $0.03 to $0.05 went toward digital advertising.
  • Republicans spent 48% of their advertising on Facebook and the remainder on Google. Democrats spent 75% on Facebook and the remainder on Google.
  • Fifty-six percent of Google ad spending occurred within one month of the election.
  • Over 90% of political advertising spending was on mobile.
  • For the 2020 presidential election, President Trump has spent more than any other candidate so far with more than $5 million spend on Facebook and Google between November 11, 2018, and March 9, 2019.

Insider Take:

Facebook and Google are likely to remain the top dogs for political advertising dollars in the 2020 election. A small group like Digital News Alliance is not likely to put a dent in the dollars, or the percentage of market share, the tech giants will receive. However, publishers who belong to the Digital News Alliance will be able to offer their advertisers access to targeted audiences and a wide range of political advertising products and services. Facebook and Google are limited to the digital media advertising options they can offer, giving Digital News Alliance a slight edge in terms of variety.