February 10, 2021
Former President Donald Trump’s second Impeachment trial started yesterday. Because Trump is no longer in office, and this is not an election year with a heavy volume of political ads, the conversation on the airwaves has been fairly quiet. Only a few groups have advertised on impeachment. This is a marked shift from the first impeachment in 2020, even if the reasons are obvious. We will break down advertising insights that resulted from the first impeachment and what is currently occurring in the second.
We ran a transcription search for “Impeach” and “Convict Donald Trump,” and “Remove Donald Trump” on ads from December 2019 to present. Based on those terms, from December 2018 – present, our search returned 108 unique creatives that aired 102,067 times on broadcast and cable in all 210 local markets. This accounts for 1% of all political advertising from December 2019 to present, but impeachment-related ads made up 5% of all political airings in 2019.
Advertising Insights: Impeachment 2020
During the first impeachment process, there were 62,000 impeachment ad airings from December 18, 2019 to February 5, 2020 (the length of the last impeachment process), accounting for 13% of all political ads from that same time period. It is important to note that Michael Bloomberg aired impeachment-related ads 47,000 times in January, so he accounts for more than two-thirds of all impeachment advertising from December 18, 2019 – February 5, 2020.
Impeachment-related ads did not stop after the first impeachment concluded. The impeachment provided a golden opportunity for Republican messaging. It’s obvious that there were two major spikes during 2020, one around the trial and one preceding Election Day (Michael Bloomberg’s airings have been removed as he was such a significant outlier). The two spikes also follow along expected party lines. The first advertising spike was heavily Democratic and the second was heavily Republican.
Republican advertisers got a lot of political mileage out of the first impeachment, with 35,750 ad airings between December 18, 2019 and present. From December 18, 2019 to February 5, 2020, Republican advertisers aired 6,610 number of ads, but from February 5 through election day 2020, they aired 29,140 number of ads. This compares to the 63,466 number ads Democrats ran until the end of the trial, and only 2,848 number of ads ran from February 5 through Election Day, making it clear that Democrats drastically stopped messaging on impeachment once the trial was over.
This current impeachment only has 3 unique creatives with 41 airings. This ad from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee aired for three days in Washington, D.C.
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We will continue to monitor airings and new advertisers through the duration of the trial. We will also be watching to see how many Republicans run on this second impeachment in both primary challenges and general elections.
Please note, this information is current as of February 10, 2021.