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Election Spending to Make Medicare Open Enrollment Year Challenging

2024 political ad spending is expected to break records across multiple channels this year, with 30% increases from 2020 to $12.32B, according to a report by research firm Insider Intelligence. The biggest winner will be TV - the channel is expected to increase 8% vs. 2020 and will account for 72% of all political spending. The surge of political advertising will affect all areas of linear TV as candidates and PACS clamor to reach voters. Media inventory at the national and local levels will be impacted, pushing marketers to think ahead to navigate the turbulent media landscape.

For Medicare advertisers, this poses a unique challenge as most of the marketing budgets are dedicated to linear TV where the 65+ audience is actively engaged. In addition, the timing of the election and Open Enrollment intersect.  What does this increased competition mean for DRTV Medicare advertisers during the election season?

Navigating 2024 market conditions when selling Medicare on TV requires a strategic approach. GainShare recommends these tips to help you manage these conditions like a pro:


  • Start Media Negotiations Early. Advertisers in this space are all vying for the same eyeballs and same time slots. To guarantee media placements, begin talking to sales managers early to lock in and secure desired media you don’t want to lose.


  • Scatter vs. Secured. Determine what portion of media can be placed as scatter and what needs to be locked-in based on priority and network feedback. Once the scatter campaign begins, watch clearance like a hawk and stay in proactive conversations with the networks about any potential pre-emptions in future weeks.


  • Maintain Flexibility: The disruption of political ads may impact your ability to clear at your desired rates to reach effective KPIs. In fact, it may even impact your ability to clear AT ALL, even at the highest DR rates. Plan for some flexibility in your media schedules and be prepared to adjust your strategy based on real-time needs.


  • Watch the Calendar and plan accordingly. Q4 is the perfect storm: Medicare dollars from advertisers who were holding back budget are likely to flood in post-election and will be competing heavily with holiday retails campaigns.  
    • Monitor News Cycles: Stay informed about the election news cycles, including key events such as debates. These events may cause spikes in rates and/or pre-emptions.


  • Local Market Planning: If you’re buying local markets, be especially aware of battleground states as this heightened demand will result in fewer avails. If your desired market is impacted by heavy political, consider 1) finding alternative markets 2) wait for the political window to pass before buying or 3) shift local TV dollars to alternate channels (digital, Podcast, Audio, OTT).

With more than 25+ years of experience, the Gainshare team is seasoned in managing Medicare campaigns at all stages: from creative execution to media planning and buying to data analytics.


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