The Swing States Where Political TV Ad Spending Has Heated Up -- and Gone Cold

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Editor's note: Here's the fourth 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

• ICYMI, here's the previous installment in this series: "Political Campaign TV Ad Spending Is Surging in North Carolina. Ohio? Not So Much"

• As we've previously noted, 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 battleground states.

• Colorado is red-hot, having seen a big surge (+394%) in political ad spending in September compared with August -- which is particularly notable because in our last chart, when we looked at August compared with July, Colorado was cold (-38%).

• Last time North Carolina was red-hot (+166%); now it's cooled off (+37%).

• Last time Wisconsin was hot (+110%); now it's gone cold (-21%).

• Last time Virginia was cold (-50%); now it's hot (+185%).

• Last time Michigan was cold (-66%); now it's hot (+203%), thanks to a big surge in spending in the Detroit market.

• Judd Rubin, VP-revenue at Strata, told Ad Age that he thinks we're about to see a final, huge push in TV ad spending that will shift more states in our map into the red and orange zones. "Trump has to reach women voters to clarify his comments and change the narrative, and Trump's challenges force House and Senate candidates to get their message out independent of the presidential contest," he said. "There's no better medium to achieve those goals than TV. We're also going to begin seeing Hillary empty the coffers in her final push toward November 8."

Ad Age Swing State Political Advertising Heat Map
Powered by Strata
% change August 2016 vs. September 2016

% change August vs. September (2016) % change 2012 vs. 2016 (September)
Colorado Springs 212% -49%
Denver-Boulder 424% 0%
Grand Junction NA -73%
Detroit 777% -87%
Flint -100% -100%
Grand Rapids -80% -99%
Norfolk-Virginia Beach 54% -93%
Richmond 81% -83%
Washington, D.C. 371% -88%
Harrisburg-Lebanon 32% 955%
Philadelphia 85% 1238%
Pittsburgh 60% 189%
Miami-Ft.Lauderdale -25% -4%
Orlando 96% 69%
Tampa-St.Petersburg 123% 64%
North Carolina
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rk Hill 30% 238%
Greensboro-Winston Salem 61% 201%
Raleigh-Durham 35% 76%
Cincinnati -5% -42%
Cleveland 35% 0%
Columbus 26% 30%
Green Bay 38% -58%
Madison -66% -79%
Milwaukee-Racine -50% -72%
Methodology: The Ad Age Swing State Political Advertising Heat Map tracks the ad spend of political advertising agencies in key swing states and local markets. The data reflects actual ad orders placed only by political advertising agencies to local/spot TV stations through Strata's software. The Heat Map includes local spend for the top three DMAs containing the highest percentage of total state populations for each state. The Heat Map is updated monthly with ad orders placed by political advertising agencies representing 75% of total political ad spend nationally.
About Strata: The solutions that Strata provides empowers clients to buy and sell all media types including cable, broadcast, newspaper, radio, outdoor and digital advertising mediums. Over $50 Billion in advertising dollars flow through Strata systems per year. As the system of choice for over 1,000 agencies in the United States, STRATA provides media technology that enables organizations to lead rather than react to industry developments. Strata is a Comcast Platform Services company. For more information, visit
Map and chart design by Ad Age Digital Content Producer Chen Wu.

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