In July 2021, AdImpact projected that candidates, PACs, and issue groups would spend $8.9 billion on ads for the 2022 cycle, just shy of the record-breaking $9 billion spent in 2020. A year later, AdImpact revised that number upward to $9.7 billion, projecting that 2022 would be the most expensive election cycle in U.S. history. Ad spending in 2018 fell just short of $4 billion.
"Midterm elections are typically less costly than those that include presidential races," but the 36 gubernatorial races this cycle help compensate for the lack of a presidential contest at the top of the ballot, The Wall Street Journal explains.
Ad spending on Senate races in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada is expected to approach or exceed $250 million each. Broadcast TV is still the most popular venue for political ads — accounting for about $5 billion in projected spending — but campaigns and groups are also stepping up spending on streaming ads, which could approach $1.5 billion.