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Updated Book on Political Advertising Released

The second edition of Political Advertising in the United States, written by the Wesleyan Media Project’s co-directors, has been released. The book, by Erika Franklin Fowler, Michael M. Franz and Travis N. Ridout, examines the volume, distribution, content, and effects of political advertising in congressional and presidential elections. The book considers the role of television ads using extensive data on ad airings on local broadcast stations. It also analyzes newly available data on paid digital ads, including ads on Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube. The book covers the role of outside groups in airing ads, including the rise of dark…
Wesleyan Media Project
November 19, 2021
Blog

Why Is Digital Advertising So Hard to Track?

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr(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…
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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…
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Why We Should Care About Dark Money Ads

As part of our ongoing focus on interest group advertising and dark money in elections, we are pleased to welcome our first guest post by Conor Dowling (University of Mississippi) and Amber Wichowsky (Marquette University).   Total outside group spending in federal elections with no disclosure of donors saw a 60-fold increase between 2006 ($5.17 million) and 2012 ($310.8 million). This “dark money” can in large part be explained by increased spending by nondisclosing entities—particularly 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) groups that are not required to disclose the identities of their donors as long as their primary purpose is not “political.” In…
Wesleyan Media Project
October 16, 2014