Ad Trends

US Presidential Elections: Will They Affect Web Traffic?

How US elections affect the world traffic?

This post is also available in: PT ES

One study proved that social media affects election outcomes, and these research results are not really surprising. But does all the election fuss, vice versa, affect the web traffic? And if so, what’s in it for media buyers and other digital specialists?

We asked our colleagues and partners who deal with traffic daily and will share our research findings right now.

Key Takeaways

– US elections might boost news website traffic worldwide

– Social media, especially Facebook campaigns, might become extremely expensive

– The other formats and other GEOs will barely suffer but might get a boost to some extent


What is Special About US Elections?

First, why do we specifically mention elections in the USA as an event that can affect global traffic? Here are two main points:

  • The United States is one of the most influential countries, so its political events might have consequences for the rest of the world. This fact makes people from other GEOs become interested in elections and the news related to them.
  • The US elections are widely covered by mass media worldwide. Besides, they often imply scandals, unexpected events, and exciting debates – e.g., all attention-catching hooks that keep audiences engaged.

So, in short, being an event of tremendous value for Americans, US elections remain a big and curious occasion for other nations, too.


What Does Statistics Say?

The first speculation we can logically make about the traffic during elections is that news platforms will see a significant rise. Is this true? 

Let’s look at the statistics shared by Adobe Analytics from the previous Election Day in 2020:

  • US news sites faced a 4x traffic boost, which made overall 311%

  • The end of Election Day brought five times more traffic to the US news sites than usually

  • All this traffic did not come exclusively from the US; a whopping 20% of users were from abroad.

As Renz Gonzales, Head of Business Development at PropellerAds, put it, 

‘I would say it would affect our traffic since the US will be inclined to consume their news and updates from major news sites and social media. I would expect native sources to have a boost due to their relevant publishers’.

So, our takeaway here is that web and mobile traffic related to text and video news will grow extensively.

The second speculation is based on the previous year’s political ad campaign spending. Presidential candidates launched massive Facebook and Google campaigns in the lead-up to the election – for example, Michael Bloomberg alone spent more than 129 million dollars on his political advertising.

So, overall, we can expect some growth in traffic, but here we are speaking exclusively about Facebook and the USA. Our media buying partners, Serge, Deehan, and Ettore, claim that the auction might be overheated on Meta US, but it will barely affect Push or Popunder traffic in the rest of the GEOs. Serge:

Ad costs skyrocket during election season. Facebook CPCs rise and overheat the auction, which leads to a situation in which media buyers will need to invest too much in their Meta advertising efforts. However, this will barely have the same effect on the other platforms and GEOs’.

Besides the rise in ad costs, political marketing campaigns might result in driving out other ads from the users’ sight. In other words, people can simply miss advertising efforts that are not related to elections.


Any Verticals That Might Rise/Drop?

According to what we said above, there is no exact evidence that some verticals may significantly rise; what is more, some may even face a decline. 

We remind you that PropellerAds doesn’t allow any politics-related ads, which means they won’t steal competition from any GEOs. However, with the growth of news websites and video content platforms, you can try to take your share without facing overheated auctions like in Meta.

So, what can you try to run during the potential traffic spikes? We might suppose growth in the following niches:


Finance

As Investopedia puts it, a political election can have a huge impact on currency rates. So, traders keep their fingers on the pulse depending on the after-elections financial forecasts. This might lead to a bigger interest in Finance offers, or, on the contrary, it may decline if the forecasts are not that good.

Let’s check PropellerAds stats on the US GEO during the previous elections to get more information about this theory:

Finance vertical in 2020 during the elections month

As you can see, finance offers experienced some growth during the elections, so this might probably be the case. What is more, there were much more traffic on them compared to the same period next year:

Impressions 03/11-04/11/20202 511 515 549
Impressions 03/11-04/11/20211 533 101 168

eCommerce

Epsilon published an infographic that reflects how elections affect consumer behavior. Interestingly, the elections in 2016 led to a drop in apparel, beauty, fitness, and B2B sales, which bounced back quickly enough, though. Another research study, prepared by Adobe Digital Insights, showed that many shoppers feel more confident about purchasing goods after the elections, but the sales level hasn’t dropped significantly.

What we can do for better clarity is to check out how the eCommerce vertical felt during the last election: here is the impressions graph for November 2020:

Ecommerce impressions during the elections month

What we see is a pretty big decline, and it actually supports the theory about consumer behavior. However, the other GEOs showed more stability, so it doesn’t mean eCommerce offers are a bad idea for the election period. And, what is more, the number of impressions was significantly bigger during the elections than on the same dates next year:

Impressions 03/11-04/11/20201 330 306 116
Impressions 03/11-04/11/2021776 112 474

Summary

So, the conclusion? While Google and Facebook ads will be overwhelmed with expensive advertising campaigns targeting US citizens, good old Push, Popunder, and other formats won’t face overheated auctions and sky-high bids. To sum up, you can safely run your campaigns at PropellerAds without worrying about traffic prices or volumes and maybe even enjoy some boost during the big November Tuesday.

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