The 2024 U.S. election cycle began this past Monday with the Iowa caucuses. This year is slated to be historic for elections worldwide — not just in the U.S. — as over four billion people, more than half of the global population, are living in countries that will hold nationwide elections in 2024.
As savvy advertisers know, election news cycles can be among the most challenging to navigate from a brand suitability perspective. That’s why in 2022 during the U.S. midterm elections, DV formed the DV Election Task Force. This multidisciplinary group brings together a team of brand safety and suitability specialists, as well as fraud experts from the industry-leading DV Fraud Lab, to provide advertisers with a deep-dive analysis of content themes that emerge during an election season.
This year, we’ll continue our election-related efforts to provide aid and guidance for advertisers throughout the 2024 U.S. general election and beyond.
What Advertisers Can Expect during the 2024 Elections
This year’s inaugural task force blog covers DV’s Semantic Science findings from the two weeks preceding the 2024 Iowa Republican presidential caucuses, which took place on January 15. This data will serve as a basis for comparison for the rest of the election season. Next month, we’ll review the findings coinciding with the election events listed below.
Throughout the year, the task force will provide in-depth election season findings approximately every month via DV’s blog. We will also post more frequent updates via DV’s social media channels, which will incorporate our category traffic findings around Hate Speech & Cyberbullying and Inflammatory Politics & News. In general, you can expect more frequent blog posts and insights as the election season progresses.
Top Content Themes Emerge Across Election Coverage and Inflammatory Politics and News
Beginning with the 2022 U.S. midterm elections, the DV Semantic Science team, which uses machine learning to analyze web page content and identify topics, began tracking relevant voting issue topics.
The DV Semantic Science team’s capabilities allow the DV Election Task Force to track the prevalence of voting issue topics that are mentioned over time on monetized web pages. In addition to analyzing a sample of web pages that mention U.S. Elections Content, we also analyze pages that DV has classified as Inflammatory Politics & News.
The relevant voting issue topics, identified by Pew Research, are:
- Energy Policy
- Gun Policy
- Health Care
- Supreme Court Appointments
- Violent Crime
- Voting Policy
DV will continue tracking these topics during the 2024 election season. Additionally, given the debut of generative AI via ChatGPT and global conflicts that have continued to intensify throughout 2023, DV added two new topics that we’ll track during our U.S. election coverage: Artificial Intelligence and International Conflict.
A Note about Inflammatory Politics and News
The Inflammatory Politics & News category includes news or political content associated with or exhibiting inflammatory points of view; potentially fake, unreliable or unsubstantiated information (e.g., mis- and disinformation); significant political intolerance, hateful or threatening rhetoric; or other significantly controversial elements. To comprehensively identify Inflammatory Politics & News, DV’s team of experts assesses the content and considers various elements, including the structure, language, rhetoric and journalistic standards. DV also analyzes a range of other inputs and sources, including expert third-party reporting and data from Storyzy, a technology company that offers automated solutions for tracking inflammatory, false and misleading content online, across multiple languages.
Key Takeaways: Iowa Republican Presidential Caucuses
This year’s findings surrounding the Iowa caucuses revealed distinctions from the 2022 U.S. midterm elections analyses.
Violent Crime Now Outpacing Abortion as the Most Prevalent Topic
In 2022, Abortion was consistently the most prevalent among the topics we tracked. Specifically, during the week of the midterm elections, which occurred on November 8, 2022, 32 percent of election-related pages mentioned Abortion. At the beginning of this year’s cycle, though, Abortion was mentioned on less than 6 percent of web pages that reference the 2024 election.
Instead, DV discovered that Violent Crime, International Conflict and Economy were the three most prevalent topics that appeared among the web pages we investigated, with Violent Crime being the most prevalent. The percentage of sample pages referencing International Conflict rose considerably between January 8–14, while military strikes occurred between Houthis rebels and the U.S. Navy.
There is More Commonality Between Elections Content and Inflammatory Politics and News Sample Pages
Additionally, this first round of data analysis showed more commonality between the top three topics that were mentioned on pages classified as U.S. Elections Content vs. those classified as Inflammatory Politics & News. In 2022, there was a greater departure between the most prevalent topics we tracked in these two sample sets. Here, we see the top three most prevalent topics among U.S. Elections Content and Inflammatory Politics & News pages are the same: Violent Crime, International Conflict and Economy.
DV’s 2024 Election Task Force: What to Expect Next
The DV Election Task Force will continue monitoring election and political content on a global level and in real time to help advertisers stay up-to-date on new issues as they arise. In addition to U.S. election season findings, we’ll also be sharing analyses from Mexico, Brazil and more. Stay tuned for our latest updates. If you have questions about brand safety and suitability, as it pertains to the election news cycle, please reach out to Sales@DoubleVerify.com.