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Google publishes a searchable database of political advertisements in the US – TechCrunch


In order to create more transparency and keep a promise to Congress, Google has just published an archive of political ads that have been placed on its platform.

Google’s new database, known as the Ads Library, is searchable from a dedicated homepage. Anyone can search for and filter ads and view them by candidate name or advertiser, spend, ad live date, impressions and type. For those looking for the biggest advertising budget or the most widely used political ad, ads can also be sorted by spend, impressions, and timeliness. Google also provided a report on the data, listing ad spend by state, advertiser, and top keywords.

The company added a bit of context to its other recent ad transparency efforts:

At the beginning of the year we took important steps to increase transparency in political advertising. We introduced new requirements for all advertisers who buy election ads on Google in the US. These advertisers are now required by law to provide government-issued identification and other key information confirming that they are US citizens or legal permanent residents. We also required that election advertising clearly state “paid by”.

The search functions are pretty handy, but a few things are missing. While Google’s database collects candidate ads in the United States, it does not contain topic ads – broader campaigns designed to influence public thinking on a specific political issue – nor does it collect state or local ads. The ads are all in the US only, so no elections will be shown anywhere else here either. Google says it is working with experts on potential tools that “capture a wider range of political ads,” but there was no timeline for that work. Currently, ads that the tool collects are added to the library on a weekly basis.


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