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

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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

• ICYMI, here's the previous installment in this series: "Here's Where Swing State TV Ad Spending Surged in July"

• 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."

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

% change July vs. August (2016) % change 2012 vs. 2016 (August)
North Carolina
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rk Hill 122% 327%
Greensboro-Winston Salem 229% 261%
Raleigh-Durham 239% 226%
Green Bay 93% 18%
Madison 156% -34%
Milwaukee-Racine 107% -14%
Miami-Ft.Lauderdale 621% 70%
Orlando 35% 38%
Tampa-St.Petersburg 11% 6%
Cincinnati 36% -20%
Cleveland 38% 27%
Columbus 41% 48%
Harrisburg-Lebanon -24% 121%
Philadelphia -39% 324%
Pittsburgh 1% 138%
Colorado Springs -48% -78%
Denver-Boulder -34% -62%
Grand Junction -100% -100%
Norfolk-Virginia Beach -47% -87%
Richmond -53% -79%
Washington, D.C. -50% -94%
Detroit -90% -96%
Flint -3% -88%
Grand Rapids 2631% -85%
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 www.gotostrata.com.
Map and chart design by Ad Age Digital Content Producer Chen Wu.

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