Aug. 16–With November just around the corner — and a spotlight on how tech giants are handling elections — Google has rolled out a way to track spending on political ads that run on its massive platform.
The top spender so far? The Trump Make America Great Again Committee, which has paid $629,500 since May for 1,321 ads, according to Google’s database. The database shows all the ad campaigns the committee has bought, and provides details on how much each ad cost, how long it ran and the number of impressions it had.
Google also added a new political-advertising section to its biannual transparency report.
“Our goal is to provide information that helps everyone better understand how political advertising works online,” the company announced Wednesday.
Besides showing the top ad spenders, that information also includes amount spent in each congressional district and top advertising keywords.
Florida tops all states in political ad spending so far this election season, with $1.1 million, as Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson faces a tough battle for reelection there. His name also shows up among the top ad keywords, along with ACLU, Rep. Diane Black, R-Tennessee, and others.
Tech giants are under pressure to be more transparent about political ad spending after strong evidence showing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The United States has charged the Internet Research Agency — which bought ads on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, the companies have confirmed — and others with running an online troll farm with the purpose of interfering in the election.
Now, tech giants are requiring proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency before they sell political ads to them, and taking other action. Google’s release of its ad database comes after Facebook launched its archive of political ads in May, and Twitter introduced its ad transparency center in June.
Google and Facebook dominate U.S. online-ad spending, but Google accounts for about twice as much digital-ad spending as Facebook. Figures from eMarketer show that Google attracted 38.6 percent of ad spending in 2017, while Facebook got 19.9 percent. This year’s figures show a similar distribution.
This article provided by NewsEdge.