A Note on Methodology

Why this selection of countries?
ad.watch compiles advertisements for 39 countries in the world. These countries are the ones for which data is available on the Ad Library API of Facebook, designed in a way that makes accessing the data practically an obstacle race. We downloaded the data of the 39 countries after uncomfortable verification processes and technical and design hurdles.

Why this selection of parties?
For each country, we have chosen to compile advertisements by major political parties and politicians of the country. We call these two kinds of entities as “Political Actors.” Determination of who is a major political actor is made by a combination of methods: preliminary understanding of the political landscape of the country gathered on the basis of recent political developments available on the web, and supplemented by consulting colleagues from the various countries. This is necessarily a subjective selection. Some political actors we considered either did not have a Facebook page, or did not run any ads from their Facebook pages. These political actors do not appear in the interface. If we have missed important political actors that you'd like to see, please drop us a line at info@ad.watch. If they are running ads, we'll add them.

Why are Spend and Impressions called an estimate?
Two fields of information, Spend and Impressions, are an estimate and are indicated as such. This is because Facebook only provides a range, and not a specific number. In these cases, we calculate an average.

Why does the comparison of money spent appear in USD?
For a comparative understanding of money spent on the ads, we have converted the estimate amounts spent by different actors into USD. The conversion is done using the exchange rates on 13th July 2019. While we know this is not the ideal method for conversion, we went with it anyway since the money spent on each ad is only available to us as a range, and therefore an abstraction in any case.

How did you decide what time range of ads to compile?
We collect all the ads available for a particular page from the Ad Library API. So the first ad for each page is the first ad that the API has tagged as “Ads about social issues, elections or politics.” These starting dates vary from country to country, and even between political actors of the same country.

The last update to the databases was done on December 1st 2019 at 16:14 CET.