Exclusive: The Swing States Where Political Ad Spending Is Exploding

Introducing the Ad Age Political Advertising Swing State Heat Map, Powered by Strata

By Published on .

Editor's note: To make sense of politics, you need to not only parse the polls but follow the money. That's why today we're launching the Ad Age Swing State Advertising Heat Map in partnership with Strata, an advertising software firm owned by Comcast that processes more than $50 billion in ad transactions each year. This new 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

• A new Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today suggests that the presidential race has suddenly tightened up in three states: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. (See USA Today's report: "Poll: Trump even with Clinton in three swing states.")

• By drilling down into Strata's hyperlocal TV advertising data -- the company works with political ad agencies representing 75% of the total political ad spend -- we can get a good sense of the ebb and flow of ad dollars among the batteground states.

• We've set this up to take a look at month-over-month increases or decreases (in this case, June vs. May political ad spending in swing states) as well as 2016 vs. 2012 increases or decreases (in this case, June 2016 vs. June 2012). Scroll down below the map and the state-by-state breakdowns for details on our methodology, a summary of this edition's findings as well as some insight from Strata.

Ad Age Swing State Political Advertising Heat Map, Powered by Strata
% change May 2016 vs. June 2016
Less Increase
More Increase

% change May vs. June (2016) % change 2012 vs. 2016 (June)
Colorado Springs 2698% -46%
Denver-Boulder 531% -12%
Grand Junction 3% -97%
Green Bay 441% 106%
Madison -100% -100%
Milwaukee-Racine NA -49%
Miami-Ft.Lauderdale 661% -91%
Orlando 146% -14%
Tampa-St.Petersburg 96% -24%
Cincinnati 471% -6%
Cleveland 232% 17%
Columbus 222% 28%
North Carolina
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rk Hill 115% -6%
Greensboro-Winston Salem 4% -36%
Raleigh-Durham 210% 9%
Harrisburg-Lebanon 192% -44%
Philadelphia -10% 413%
Pittsburgh 170% 25%
Detroit 47% 284%
Flint NA -88%
Grand Rapids -35% -60%
Norfolk-Virginia Beach 141% -56%
Richmond 77% -53%
Washington, D.C. -23% -76%
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 Stata 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.

• If you hover over the background color of a battleground state, you'll see a number that represents the month-over-month increase or decrease in political ad spending. Comparing June to May, every swing state has seen gains, but Colorado has the largest increase (+616%). That said, if you take a look at the column labeled "% change 2012 vs. 2016 (June)," you'll see that in Colorado's three key broadcast markets -- Colorado Springs, Denver-Boulder and Grand Junction -- spending on political advertising in June 2016 is still well below the levels seen in June 2012.

• The states singled out by the Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today have seen varying levels of increased poltical ad spending, with Ohio seeing the biggest June-vs.-May jump (+251%), followed by Florida (+125%) and Pennsylvania (+26%).

• "There is a sense that we are in the calm before the storm," Judd Rubin, VP-revenue at Strata, told Ad Age. "Look for things to heat up nationally after the Republican and Democratic Conventions on July 18-21 and July 25-28, respectively. Ad spend should really start to pick up after Donald Trump starts spending more seriously than he has until this point."

Most Popular
In this article: