Blog

Why Is Digital Advertising So Hard to Track?

(MIDDLETOWN, CT) August 7, 2020 – Since 2010, the Wesleyan Media Project (WMP) has tracked political advertising on television, but the project only started providing data on digital advertising in 2018—and those numbers carry with them several caveats.  Why is it so hard to track digital advertising?1. The major social media platforms libraries don’t cover all digital advertising. While Facebook (including Instagram) and Google (including YouTube) have provided data on ads since May 2018, most vendors that place advertising on third-party sites do not provide any public information on their political ad sales (Google Ad Networks is the exception). Further,…
2016 ElectionsBlogReleases

Eschewing policy in advertising? Lessons from 2016

  (MIDDLETOWN, CT) February 25, 2020 – Michael Bloomberg’s recent political ad, which portrays Donald Trump as a bully, has prompted discussion on social media about the effectiveness of personal versus policy attacks. Many of these discussions invoked a Wesleyan Media Project analysis from 2016 published in The Forum. In this research, we demonstrated that Clinton ran one of the most unusual presidential advertising campaigns in recent history by focusing overwhelmingly on personal characteristics of her opponent, Trump. While our 2016 study did not speak to effectiveness of personal versus policy ads, there is evidence that candidates suffer backlash from sponsoring…
Wesleyan Media Project
February 25, 2020
2018 ElectionsBlogReleasesYear-End Summaries

Latest WMP Research

2018 Political Advertising Year-end Summary Published in PS (MIDDLETOWN, CT) September 27, 2019 -- New research published in PS by Erika Franklin Fowler, Michael M. Franz and Travis N. Ridout, co-directors of the Wesleyan Media Project, offers a post-mortem on political advertising in 2018, providing important context for that year’s “blue wave” in which Democrats picked up 40 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Using ad tracking data from the Wesleyan Media Project, the authors find that in the vast majority of races, there were more pro-Democratic than pro-Republican ads, including in the most competitive contests—and even in those races that leaned Republican.…
Wesleyan Media Project
September 27, 2019
Blog

Tracking Political Ads in Smaller Media Markets

Some districts harder to track than others, but not many competitive races are affected (MIDDLETOWN, CT) July 24, 2019 - The Wesleyan Media Project obtains ad data from Kantar Media/CMAG, which represents the most comprehensive and systematic collection on the content and targeting of political advertisements. There is, however, one feature of Kantar’s data that we want to highlight for our data users: each media market in the country is either a “discovery” market or a “non-discovery” market. Discovery markets have technology that allows them to compare new sound wave patterns from ads to the existing database to determine whether…