Study Finds Digital Ads Can Boost Millennial Turnout

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A new study backs the effectiveness of digital advertising to increase turnout among Millennial voters in competitive local elections. The findings could give digital consultants another talking point in their argument for a larger budget share heading into the 2020 cycle.

Researchers Jay Jennings and Katherine Haenschen said their study, published this month in the academic journal Political Communication, is “the first evidence that online ads can positively impact turnout.” 

“Plenty of people are trying to figure out what the effects are of digital ads, but this is the first study that shows with scientific rigor that exposure to internet ads increases turnout,” Haenschen, a practitioner-turned-researcher at Virginia Tech, told C&E.

The research centered on a $50,000 digital ad campaign during a non-partisan May 2017 Dallas municipal election where the mayoral seat wasn’t up. 

The study was conducted in Dallas at the request of the publisher of the Dallas Morning News “due to the city’ s historically low levels of municipal participation particularly among Millennials.”
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