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Voters on high alert for fake news, ad fraud, and misinformation in 2020

New report shows many worried about an illegitimate presidential election

Mar 03, 2020

With the 2020 presidential campaign in full swing, voters still feel stung by the effects of the 2016 election, with more than 77% saying they are concerned about fake news and misinformation this time around, according to a new study by Integral Ad Science (IAS), the global leader in digital ad verification. IAS asked prospective voters to weigh in on their perception of digital media in the midst of the election cycle. Political advertising is skyrocketing in 2020, with Democratic and Republican campaigns already committing an unprecedented $2.8B to digital media. 

In the last presidential election, voter engagement with fake news articles on Facebook increased as election day approached, eventually surpassing engagement with mainstream news articles. With digital traffic patterns set to replicate or outperform those from 2016, the possibility of advertising alongside fake news articles presents a challenge for both brands and politicians. IAS found that 76% of voters believe that online advertising will play an important role in determining the outcome of the election, and this is especially true among younger audiences.

At the same time, ad fraud spiked around midterm election dates in 2018, corresponding with increased online traffic. It’s no secret that fraudsters follow the money, making the upcoming 2020 election a prime target for fraudulent activity. 51% of respondents in the IAS survey are most concerned about political ad fraud in the 2020 election, and 86% of surveyed voters said that it would be irresponsible for political advertisers not to take measures to prevent online ad fraud. This is especially true among older audiences.

“2020 is poised to be a major year for advertising for both brands and politicians, and there’s no slowing down the boom in news and content around the upcoming presidential election,” Tony Marlow, Chief Marketing Officer at IAS, said. “Our latest political research explores how and where voters give their attention to political news, and what impact advertising will have on an election expected to bring the highest voter turnout in American history.”

For more information, download the results of the study.

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