NYU’s effort to scrape and analyze Facebook’s Political Ad Archive
Our team performed an initial analysis of Facebook’s archive of ads with political content that primarily span eight weeks from May 2018 - July 2018.
Facebook launched their searchable archive of U.S. political advertisements on May 24, 2018. We devise a data collection methodology to obtain a large set of 267,000 political ads from Facebook’s political ad archive. We find that in total, ads with political content have generated at least 1,435,089,000 impressions and have cost their sponsors $13,913,300 and possibly up to 3,884,705,000 impressions and spent $71,754,827 on advertising with U.S. political content. Individual Facebook pages that sponsor political content ads, on average, generate at least 72,501 total impressions and spend at least $703 on advertising. In our report attached below, we provide our initial analysis of Facebook’s political ad archive. We are also providing all the raw political content ads that we have collected which will be updated weekly.
Facebook Political Ad Archive Overview
According to Facebook: “The archive includes Facebook and Instagram ads that have been classified as containing political content, or content about national issues of public importance.” This archive provides an increased level of transparency of political ads on Facebook and Instagram.
We investigate the following questions in analysis section of the paper:
- What is the size of political advertising on Facebook?
- Who is paying for political ads on Facebook?
- Who is being shown political ads on Facebook?
We also dig into our data to discover the top sponsors, pages, demographic groups based on minimum impressions garnered.
Overview of Ads
|Total Ads||Total Sponsors||Total Pages||Min/Max Impressions||Min/Max Spend|
|267,000||9,842||19,794||1,435,089,000 - 3,884,705,000||13,913,300 - 71,754,827|
Top 10 Political Sponsors by Minimum Impressions
|Sponsors||Sponsor Category||Total Ads||Impressions||Spend|
|the Trump Make America Great Again Committee||Person||4,127||26,402,000||190,400|
|Planned Parenthood Federation of America||Non Profit||3,389||24,510,000||188,800|
|AAF Nation, LLC||Clothing Company||862||18,380,000||78,900|
|Beto for Texas||Politician||377||13,040,000||194,400|
|Priorities USA Action and Senate Majority PAC.||Political Organization, Community||2,796||12,900,000||120,600|
|NowThis||News Site, Media News Company||35||11,601,000||7,400|
|Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.||Person||5,396||11,263,000||83,700|
|4Ocean, LLC||Product Service||78||10,621,000||68,200|
Category of Political Sponsors
|Sponsor Category||# Sponsors||Total Ads||Total Impressions||Total Spend|
Top 5 Pages from Unvetted Sponsors by Minimum Impressions
|Page Name||Page Category||Total Ads||Impressions||Spend|
|American AF||Clothing Company||253||8,198,000||$103,800|
|NRA - National Rifle Association of America||Non Profit||56||7,925,000||$78,500|
|I’ll go ahead and keep my guns, Thanks||Media||26||7,562,000||$120,300|
|China Xinhua News||Media News Company||44||6,835,000||$6,000|