2020 is shaping up to be the most intense presidential campaign in history, with well over a billion dollars predicted to be spent by both Democratic and Republican campaigns; foreign governments almost certainly participating by proxy (possibly Ukraine, Russia, China and who knows who else); and even the Chinese religious group, Falun Gong, getting in on the act via the The Epoch Times.

Advertisers and marketers of all stripes should be paying attention. This much marketing activity can not help but impact the affiliate marketing industry. Let us count some of the ways Mr Trump vs [Bernie/Liz/Mike/Amy/Pete] is going to affect performance marketing this year:

  1. Ad Rates Are Going To Sky-Rocket
    According to the Center For Responsive Politics, all campaigns together have so far raised $1,178 million, i.e. close to $1.2 Billion, for the 2020 race for the presidency. It is only February – there are still 10 months to go before the election. Mike Bloomberg alone spent $180 million in Q4-2019 and is likely to be well beyond that in this quarter due to the Democratic primaries coming think and fast. Some people estimate that over $3 Billion could be spent on advertising in the primary and presidential campaigns, with even more in the various Congressional races. Bottom line: there’s going to be massive amounts of inventory eaten up by all this money. Do you think your ROI can cope with the resulting increases in ad rates across virtually all platforms? I suspect a lot won’t.
  2. Facebook & Google Are Going To Vampire-Squid 2020
    In July 2009, journalist Matt Taibbi invoked a memorable image when he described Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Facebook and Google are going to do that to the presidential cmapign. Think micro-targeting, the ability to hit virtually everybody, and opaque pricing – really, what is not to love for the duopoly? And coming out the other end with their ROI through the roof and yours hit by the increased rates? Well then they plan on getting rid of 3rd-party cookies, just to mess with your data and cement their incumbent positions even more firmly. Never has it been more obvious that anti-monopoly and anti-trust law needs to be revitalized for the sake of our industry.
  3. FTC Under Trump May Fade Away
    The FTC has been pretty active in terms of enforcement, as our favorite specialist attorney, Richard Newman, has documented here in many articles. If Trump wins, many people believe that enforcements are likely to slow down significantly. In general, it is fair to say that Republicans are not overkeen on regulation, so the FTC’s activism has surprised many. If The Donald wins a second term, don’t be surprised if it suddenly becomes easier to market supplements and unusual financial products.

It would be easy to carry on as normal and let the madcap politics of our time go on outside of our working lives. Unfortunately, in this year of all years, that’s unlikely to work. Get ready: the battle of the billionaires will soon be upon us.