November 5th may be the Super Bowl of the Election, but the election season starts long before then. Super Tuesday, a day on which a dozen-plus states will hold their primaries, is March 5th. By the end of March, more than 50% of delegate-related events will have taken place. And then it’s off to the races for the nearly $13 billion projected ad spend towards the 2024 presidential election. That budget spans across broadcast, cable, streaming, and digital platforms.

When it comes to the digital media’s share of that spend, there are strategies to consider that can significantly impact a publisher’s piece of the pie.

Ad Revenue Strategies For Election Years

1. Reconsider Block Lists:

Publishers can reconsider their block lists. This year, there will be a surge in advertising demand as political candidates and organizations allocate substantial budgets for campaigning. In order for publishers to capitalize on any of this increased demand, they must first take a look at their blocklists.

At Freestar, we offer several options for blocklists. In both our default and standard blocklists, political ads remain unblocked. Because of this, we implement strict guidelines to ensure brand safety and detect misinformation or manipulative creatives so publishers can reap the revenue benefits while keeping UX at the forefront.

Regardless of the extra measures around safety, we recommend providing a way for users to flag inappropriate ads. This makes users feel heard and allows them to take immediate action to remove while providing important insights that allow publishers to optimize ad choices.

2. Expand Ad Layouts:

Websites with conservative ad layouts can add units and formats. With all the added demand, increasing the number of impressions you have to sell helps too! If you’re currently on the conservative side of ad quantity, and particularly if you’re not running video format, making these two optimizations during an election year can turn up meaningful revenue.

We always aim for audience (and a positive UX!) over ad revenue, but brushing right up against that tipping point is a perfect place to be with all this extra ad spend. Many of the world’s largest publishers use this strategy during key times of seasonality.

3. Create content relevant to key election dates and events:

Editorial direction can play a big part in the revenue made from an election year. With third-party cookie loss, contextual signals will be a key targeting strategy for many political campaigns. Depending on your content vertical, get creative with articles angled towards the election. News sites, like Reuters and Al Jazeera, lead the trending content creation surrounding the political landscape, but most niches can find a way to speak to a relevant political narrative. Consider content types outside of trending news, like evergreen explainers, DIYs, and op-eds.

Then, publish this content around the time of key races and events that will likely attract significant advertising attention.

4. Offer Political Ad Packages:

For publishers selling direct, create political ad packages. If direct sales are part of your ad strategy, it’s always a good idea to develop specialized ad packages tailored for themes, in this case, for political advertisers. These packages can include various ad formats, placements, and targeting options.

Create a mixture of fully dedicated sponsored posts, homepage takeovers, video impressions, and banners to give the advertiser variety in reaching their target audience.

5. Optimize for Viewability:

One metric that continues to be mentioned in almost every political campaign is ad viewability. Viewability refers to how visible the ads are to users on the publisher’s website. Optimize your site to highlight premium ad placements with increased visibility, such as homepage takeovers or exclusive sponsorships. Make sure units in the sidebar are sticky, and double-check that no ads overlap.

By implementing these strategies, publishers can position themselves to capture a significant share of the increased ad spending during political seasons and maximize their overall revenue. If you’re currently partnering with Freestar and want to optimize for maximum revenue during the 2024 presidential election, reach out to your customer success manager today! And if you are not currently a partner with us, feel free to reach out to to get started.