While social media makes its best attempt at trying to get Joe Biden elected by censoring stories about his son, YouTube is facing another dilemma: the platform is so inundated with political ads it has nowhere to put them.
As advertising campaigns flood the platform, YouTube has "struggled" to place the ads in front of the desired audience for each, according to Bloomberg.
Interestingly enough, YouTube is experiencing the shortage most in "critical swing states", where ad prices have doubled as a result. This, obviously, makes political advertising far more lucrative for Google, who saw ad revenue fall this year and will announcing its earnings next week.
Cat Stern, media director for Lockwood Strategy Lab, a digital campaign agency focused on Democratic candidates and progressive advocacy organizations, told Bloomberg: “There’s a crunch. All political advertisers are buying in the same states, to similar audiences.”
YouTube viewers have risen during the pandemic and while commercial ads have been "anemic", political ads have spiked heading into November 3. In highest demand are the ads that users aren't allowed to skip through. There are also ad "reservations" for YouTube's most popular videos that are in high demand.
Reid Vineis, vice president of digital at Majority Strategies, a Republican political ad firm, said: “The reserves tend to be gobbled up by well-funded campaigns.”
While this occurs, other less-well-funded campaigns have turned to platforms like Hulu and Roku to run their ads.
Some states, like Iowa, are usually entirely sold out on YouTube. Tim Cameron, co-founder of FlexPoint Media, said: “A lot of late money that’s coming on board -- it’s difficult to find anywhere to put it.”
At some points, YouTube has been unable to place up to 75% of the amounts that people are willing to spend. YouTube didn't comment for Bloomberg's article, but the article notes that a "code yellow" was assigned to Google's staff regarding the inability to place ads, meaning Google was increasing the resources it was deploying to try and solve the issue.
Google has sole more than $139 million in political ads over the last month alone.