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WMP Submits Comments to Federal Election Commission

WMP Submits Comments to Federal Election Commission about Enhanced Reporting of Campaign Spending The FEC is considering a new rule on how campaign committees report spending by contractors and consultants. WMP co-director Michael Franz submitted comments in support of the new regulation, arguing that existing rules make it hard to track ad spending on digital platforms. His full set of comments are linked here. The summary of the report is below: “This analysis compares FEC expenditures by U.S. House candidates in the 2019-2020 cycle with Facebook Ad Library totals for candidates between January 2019 and Election Day 2020. We use…
Wesleyan Media Project
October 22, 2021

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…

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…
2016 ElectionsBlogReleases

Eschewing policy in advertising? Lessons from 2016

Photo: Lorie Shaull   (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…
Wesleyan Media Project
February 25, 2020