Prevalence of Political Ads as #Elections2016 Heat Up

Trump’s digital ads have skyrocketed in the last month; although, Hillary still leads with a more sophisticated digital media plan executed across a diverse portfolio of websites.

July and August have seen tremendous growth for Trump’s digital ads—the number of websites he bought ads on increased 592% from only 12 websites in June to 83 in July. His ads are narrowly focused on conservative and political news sites such as Townhall, RedState, Roll Call, Bearing Arms, National Review and the Christian Science Monitor. Many ads also skew toward a male audience including Backpacker, Gear Institute and YouTube channel Motor Trend. However, the ad creative and messaging remain the same across all sites purchased.

On an interesting note, both candidates are nearly tied for programmatic—with Trump placing 37% of his digital ads programmatically and Hillary placing 31% programmatically. Hillary uses DoubleClick and AOL as the top two programmatic platforms, dominating 56% and 41% of her programmatic buys respectively. Trump also leverages DoubleClick and AOL as the top two programmatic platforms—consuming 94% of his programmatic buys.

Hillary’s digital ad campaign has seen consistent digital buys over the last six months—with the height of her ads running in May through July. She has placed digital ads across 628 websites since March compared to Trump’s 170 websites. Hillary’s targeting is more advanced, reaching many segments with varied ad creative. News sites are the most common websites she placed ads on, including The New York Times, NBC, CNN and Yahoo!. Other key segments are women-centric sites in battleground states of Pennsylvania such as PennLive, Metro Philly, Reading Eagle and Lancaster Online. 

It will be interesting to see how Hillary’s extensive digital campaign influences the 2016 elections this fall.


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