New Report by iQ Media Reveals Presidential Candidates’ Ad Spend is Heavily Skewed Towards Local Markets

The “2016 Presidential Campaign Ad Spend Report” Shows a Consistent 3:1 Local vs. National Ad Investments Since September, Among Other Findings

Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, UNITED STATES

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 03, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- iQ Media (, the pioneer of real-time searchable TV for paid and earned media, today released its “2016 Presidential Campaign Ad Spend Report,” which offers a detailed account of each presidential candidate’s daily TV advertisements between September 25 and and November 2, 2016. iQ Media tracked national and local TV advertising across U.S. national and local markets, revealing that each candidate has consistently spent over 70% of their total ad budgets on local TV advertising—and less than 30% on national TV ads—since late September. The full report can be downloaded here.

“While the majority of recent presidential ad campaign coverage has focused on Trump and Clinton’s national ad spend, the local ad data tells the more important story,” said John Derham, Head of Innovation and Co-Founder of iQ Media, who led research efforts. “We’re seeing telling spending patterns that offer much insight into each candidates’ strategy, including sudden spending surges in target markets, in response to pivotal media moments on the same days.”

iQ Media tracked commercials that were directly endorsed by the candidates. iQ Media did not track ads put out by PACs or other unofficial political campaign groups.

Key Takeaways:

  • Candidates’ ad campaigns are playing out on a local level, not a national one. Since September 25, Clinton has spent 71% of her ad budget on local ads and only 28% on national. Similarly, Trump has spent 85% on local and only 15% on national
  • Trump’s ad spend skyrocketed in October and has remained high since. Early in his campaign, Trump capitalized on the fact that he hadn't spent much on TV advertising while Clinton was spending millions. But there was a distinct passing-of-the-torch from Clinton to Trump on 10/07, just as the “hot-mic” video hit the news. Clinton’s ad spending, which at its peak reached $1.4 million/day, bottomed out and Trump’s skyrocketed from next to nothing to $2.5 million in daily ad spend by 10/12
  • Clinton is aggressively targeting swing states. Clinton’s biggest daily ad spends have been in the Philadelphia, PA ($320,000), Cleveland, OH ($200,000), and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL ($235,000) markets. 
  • Trump has invested heavily in markets that could prove difficult to capture. Throughout the debates, Trump’s largest daily ad spends were in the Cleveland ($2.7 million)New York ($2.6 million)Denver ($2.4 million)Philadelphia ($2.0 million) and Los Angeles ($1.5 million) markets, even as he and his team may have been aware that some of these markets were a more difficult hurdle for his campaign (New York, LA or Denver).
  • Clinton's top messages: Both Trump and Clinton have tested out numerous TV messages in different markets. Clinton invested the most in “Women Mirrors” ($23.9 million), “Solve Problems” ($4.2 million) and "Clean Energy” (~$1 million)
  • Trump’s top messages: Trump has rotated through a series of messages—“50 Points Ahead,” “Taxes,” “Who is Trump?” and “Deplorables”—without a clear preference for one over the other, in terms of timing or market placement.

Ad values are based on Nielsen and Squad data for each market, and are weighted according to network and time of day.

To speak with John Derham of iQ Media about these findings, please contact Gretel Going at

About iQ Media
iQ Media is the pioneer of real-time searchable TV, changing the way marketers access and evaluate their brand performance across earned and paid media. With over 22 million hours of TV content from 210 DMAs, iQ Media delivers heard and seen logo recognition, competitor data, industry benchmarks and local to national-level audience data. Serving brands such as Domino's Pizza, Energizer, NHL, Red Bull and Sonic, iQ Media provides a single, user-friendly platform that helps marketing, PR and customer insights teams better understand earned and paid media TV ROI, moments after it happens. For more information, please visit



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