You Ask, I Answer: Pausing Ads During the Election?

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You Ask, I Answer: Pausing Ads During the Election?

Lea asks, “Curious about your thoughts on when to pause any ad campaigns (in US) across the board during the election?”

I wouldn’t necessarily pause unless you’re targeting so broadly that you’ll be bidding and competing for the entire adult population. What you should do is monitor your performance and pricing like a hawk, and consider advertising on platforms like Twitter that have said no to political ads to start.

You Ask, I Answer: Pausing Ads During the Election?

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In today’s episode, Leah asks curious about your thoughts on when to pause any ad campaigns in the US across the board during the election? Hmm.

I don’t know that I would pause advertising campaigns during the election unless your targeting is so like wildly broad, that you’re literally targeting anything and then everyone available.

Certainly there gonna be some ad groups and some people who will, you know, be more politically engaged during that time.

And there’ll be some ad networks that will be definitely swamped with political ads.

But I would say that if you’re targeting the entire adult population of the United States, you might want to refine your targeting first, because that’s really broad and I’m going to be really, really expensive.

What is true is that All advertisers really from now through the election should be monitoring their performance, very carefully looking for ads to underperform looking for ads that are not getting enough impressions looking for ads that are spending too much above your targets, if you don’t have a fixed target price, on your advertising, all those things, I think that would be watching very carefully and not just because of the election.

But you know, to quote heavy email we’ve gotten in the last five months in these uncertain times.

In this case is literally true.

You have uncertainty all over the place.

You have within the United States specifically, since we’re talking about the election.

You have massive disparities in economic performance based on whether a individual state or region is open or closed or whether they’re the pandemic is causing issues, whether there are political activities.

rallies, you name it.

There’s a lot of uncertainty right now.

And so you may want to even go to the route of having different campaigns for different regions, depending on what’s going on in that region.


If you were advertising in, say, New England and the Southwest, you might see the Southwest performance change be very different than New England’s because they’re in a very different stage of the pandemic.

I would say that you should consider advertising on platforms that have said, No, no political ads at all.

Twitter, most prominently has said we’re not taking any political ads.

And while there’s certainly no shortage of legitimate and, and illegitimate political activity on Twitter, it’s all organic, Lee based.

So you’ll want to consider running ads on that platform because you know, you’re not gonna be competing with political campaigns.

with the understanding that you will also want to be very careful about how you target no matter what platform you’re running on.

You can bet that organizations and political action committees and all these things will be, you know, running their most extreme partisan ads possible.

From now until the election, and depending on your brand, and depending on on your audience, there are some ads that you may not want to have appearing near content about, you know, I don’t know aliens, you know, reptilian aliens running Washington DC, which apparently is a real thing that some people believe you might not want your ads.

Next to that.

It just as much as a publisher may not want certain ads, an advertiser may not want certain publishers.

So be very vigilant about Where your ads appear? About which, if for example, on Facebook, which groups you might want to exclude on Google ads, which websites you might want to exclude? Are there specific topics and the specific keywords? You may not, for example, want your ads to run.

If the content or the context contains either of the presidential candidates names, you may just want to say Nope, I’m gonna nope out of here and, and just let let our ads run somewhere else.

It’s a good call to action to investigate your ad targeting anyway, and refine it and improve it, cleaned it up tune it.

These are all good things to do with your advertising.

So I would say that’s the approach I would take rather than just going for a blanket pause.

Again, depending on your organization to you may or may not be want to advertise on certain ad networks because of the political or social implications.

of doing so there are any number of organizations that said, for example, they will not advertise on Facebook until Facebook fixes its disinformation problem.

And its inability to filter out, you know, clearly fake information.

So that is part and parcel of your company and its mission, you may, you may have that be influencing where you advertise as well.

But I wouldn’t put a blanket pause on anything unless, you know, something like else horrendously tragic happens, in which case, you may want to have that emergency stop button as we all do for all kinds of situations that occur.

Make sure that your social media policies and your advertising policies and procedures and processes within your organization are up to date, so that you can hit pause if needed and have it be very rapid.

But yeah, it’s been an interesting year.

It’s going to continue to be interesting.

times be thoughtful and careful with your targeting be thoughtful and careful with your creative.

The rule of thumb, I would say in general, is that if you have to ask is something appropriately, chances are it’s probably not.

Whether it’s an ad or organic content or what have you.

Um, just be thoughtful be asking yourself on a regular basis.

How could this be misconstrued? Like if your ad shows up someplace that you didn’t want to? How could this be misconstrued? As a relatively safe question to ask yourself on a regular frequent basis? Good luck with your advertising? And, and yeah, good luck.

If you have follow up questions about this or any other question, please leave in the comments box below.

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