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Online Advertising to Counter Disinformation During Presidential Campaign

As part of an overall “get-out-the-vote” ad campaign leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election, Dewey Square Group’s mission was to inform key groups targeted by others to receive election disinformation – most specifically, 18- to 45-year-old African American voters – in six battleground states.

Our “Dewey Defend” effort included an advertising campaign targeting this demographic of users – particularly those who visited one of 5,000 disinformation websites that we monitor – aiming to detect the earliest signs of election disinformation.

Informed by the data obtained from DSG’s comprehensive monitoring of both mainstream and fringe social networks and websites, we built a robust digital advertising campaign which implemented the best practices of inoculation to reach targeted audiences. Ad creatives in the form of static graphics, video ads, and audio ads were strategically placed across an array of online platforms.

The campaign messaging educated voters and highlighted misconceptions and misinformation of key electoral issues. A secondary focus involved sharing with allied organizations techniques for stopping the spread of disinformation.

The campaign drove high awareness among the target audience with more than 2,000,000 ad impressions and 750,000 video views across all media platforms, resulting in a better than 2% average click-through-rate to our supporting website.