New WMP Research Sheds Light on Political Ads Online

Political ad campaigns on Facebook are not necessarily comparable to political ad campaigns on television, argues a newly-published article from the Wesleyan Media Project’s co-directors.  In a manuscript titled, “The Influence of Goals and Timing: How Campaigns Deploy Ads on Facebook,” which appears in the Journal of Information Technology and Politics, Travis Ridout, Erika Franklin Fowler and Michael Franz suggest that political ads on Facebook pursue a variety of goals—and the goals pursued depend on the timing of the campaign. The research examines Facebook ads placed by 24 different candidates running for U.S. Senate in 2018.  The ads were tracked…
2020 ElectionsReleasesYear-End Summaries

Political Ads in 2020: Fast and Furious

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr WMP Publishes End-of-Cycle Report   (MIDDLETOWN, CT) March 23, 2021 – New research published by the Wesleyan Media Project co-directors in The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics (gated) provides a post-mortem on the fast and furious political advertising in the 2020 cycle.  Our analysis of the volume and spending on political advertising—both on television and online—suggests a few initial conclusions.  First, ad volumes in 2020 were off the charts.  Second, Democrats’ dominance of advertising on television was clear, with pro-Biden ads outnumbering pro-Trump ads two to one or even three to one in most media markets…
2020 ElectionsReleases

Presidential General Election Ad Spending Tops $1.5 Billion

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr Pro-Dem Ad Advantages Up and Down the Ballot; Republican Airings More Negative   Report Highlights President Biden and Trump spending by medium (Table 1) Top TV spenders in the presidential race (Table 2) Digital spending by Trump and Biden (Table 3) TV Spending by media market (Table 4, Figure 1, and compared to 2016 in Figure 2) Facebook spending by geography (Figure 4) U.S. Senate Top TV spenders in U.S. Senate races (Table 6) Digital and TV spending in U.S. Senate races (Table 7) Tone of U.S. Senate races (Table 8, Figure 8, and Figure 9) Top…
Wesleyan Media Project
October 29, 2020
2020 ElectionsReleases

Record Shattering 2020 Ad Volumes

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr Phoenix Top Media Market Cycle-to-Date   (MIDDLETOWN, CT) October 21, 2020 – A new brief report from the Wesleyan Media Project finds record levels of television advertising in the 2020 campaigns. Over 4.9 million ads have aired in federal races (House, Senate and president) on broadcast and national cable television since January of 2019 (Figure 1). That volume is more than twice the volume of ad airings in the 2012 and 2016 presidential election cycles—and well above the previously record-setting mid-term election ad volumes in 2018.   Figure 1: Volume of Federal Advertising by Cycle (2012-2020) Numbers…
Wesleyan Media Project
October 21, 2020