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Political Campaign TV Ad Spending Is Surging in North Carolina. Ohio? Not So Much

September 12th, 2016 | Read more articles from 2016 or Visit the News Archive
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Originally Appearing at: Ad Age

By: Simon Dumenco

Editor’s note: Here’s the third installment of the Ad Age Swing State Advertising Heat Map, presented in partnership with Strata, an advertising software firm owned by Comcast that processes more than $50 billion in ad transactions each year. This monthly view is designed to supplement our weekly Campaign Scorecard posts that appear every Friday in our Campaign Trail section. Some context and analysis from Simon Dumenco follows.—Ken Wheaton

  • As we noted last time, by drilling down into Strata’s hyperlocal TV advertising data—the company works with political ad agencies representing 75% of the total political ad spending—we can get a good sense of the ebb and flow of ad dollars among the batteground states.
  • The battleground state advertising landscape continues to be unpredictable. Whereas Ohio saw a bit of a dip (-10%) last time (going from June to July), now ad spending is trending upward (+39%) there (going from July to August). And Pennyslvania, which was up 39% in July vs. June, fell 26% in August vs. July. But North Carolina in particular has been surging, increasing 166% in August vs. July (vs. a modest 13% increase in July vs. June)—and spending in the state’s three major media markets in August is actually up dramatically vs. spend in August 2012 (as tallied in the second column below). Wisconsin, meanwhile, remains hot—though not red-hot like last time (+110% going from July to August vs. +187% June going to July), and it’s actually dipped a bit in two of its major media markets when you compare Aug. 2016 to Aug. 2012.”
  • “Heading into the final stretch of the campaign season, we’re seeing a shift in target areas,” Judd Rubin, VP-revenue at Strata, told Ad Age. “Trump is targeting North Carolina, finally, and there’s a great Senate race in Wisconsin between Democrat Russ Feingold and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. Looking ahead to the election, we expect that the consolidation of ad spend will continue into the key states that may ultimately decide the election.” If traditional swing state Ohio continues to lean toward Clinton, he added, “ad spend will move away from it and into more hotly contested battlegrounds.”

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