"Every two years you have some fairly large election season in terms of ad spending. The general trend I would expect is for social media to be in the limelight," says Martin Pyykkonen, a senior research analyst at Wedge Partners. In rough and tumble politics, Pyykkonen highlights Twitter as best positioned to draw campaign ad dollars because users consume policy substance on the 140 million user social network. In contrast, politics can be awkward subject mater on Facebook, which is less "newsy" and more of a way to keep in touch with friends and family, adds Pyykkonen.
Pachter of Wedbush also highlights privately-held Twitter as the platform best positioned to capture political ad dollars. Recent Obama and Romney-promoted tweets filtering through Twitter streams may be an indication that the platform can bridge paid-politics with social networking, without alienating users. Twitter's recently rolled out "promoted tweets" -- where a campaign or company sends out a tweet to selected users -- earns Twitter between $2.50 to $4.00 in revenue per new follower to the promoted tweet, according to Pachter's estimates.
Election season may also grab the attention of corporate advertisers. For instance, Pyykkonen of Wedge Partners says Facebook needs to prove to advertisers it can deliver packaged ad solutions. Google, he says, proved its mettle early on with successful packages for the likes of Procter& Gamble (NYSE:PG) and Heineken that made its appeal to corporate accounts apparent.