Study: In Search, the News Media are Trump’s Top Competitors


New Adthena study finds that are top Trump-related search term challengers

Adthena, a leader in AI and machine learning-powered search intelligence, announced a new study examining Donald Trump-related search advertising trends. For the study, Adthena analyzed thousands of paid ads and organic searches – across desktop and mobile – from February to March 2018.

According to Adthena’s analysis, news publishers – like CNN and The New York Times – were the most likely “competitors” for search terms. Adthena looked at all brands that have appeared at the same time as across paid, organic, desktop and mobile search. In ranking the percentage of search terms that competitors have appeared on, the top-five competitors for terms were:

“The biggest search ‘competitors’ for are the media that cover Donald Trump,” said Ashley Fletcher, VP of Marketing, Adthena. “These publishers show up in the same searches. This is largely driven via organic search, not paid. Right now, is the most likely to appear in a Trump search, but everyone is neck-and-neck.”

Trump search terms by share of clicks: who’s winning?

When evaluating the performance (share of clicks) of paid desktop text-based search ads that reference Donald Trump by and other sites, ranked third. The top-five performers included niche and known sites and organizations.

  • (24.72% of all clicks on paid desktop text-based search ads)
  • (13.90%) — Global Americans is a “newly established non-profit” that shares foreign policy news and analysis that affects Central and Latin America
  • (11.91%)
  • (11.17%) — A well-known American, libertarian-focused think tank
  • (10.04%) — A rapidly emerging American news source is an interesting case. Its access is currently blocked on Chrome, Safari, Explorer, and Edge in the US and UK, citing security concerns,” said Fletcher. “Bad or ignorant actors sometimes try to use popular search terms, like Trump, to promote less than safe websites.”

“Beyond, several longtail and niche sites are taking advantage of Trump searches,” added Fletcher. “This might signal an opportunity for more legacy publishers, for example. They have bigger budgets and can swoop in, investing more in paid Trump desktop text ads.”

On the organic side (desktop) was the top performer by a wide margin. The top-five was rounded out by household media sites, like The Hill and Politico.

On mobile, in terms of paid text ads, Axios drove the highest percentage of clicks. They outperformed the runner-up by more than 40 percentage points.

  • (54.58% of all clicks on paid mobile text-based search ads)
  • (13.90%)
  • (13.29%)
  • (3.49%) — A Trump apparel and merchandise seller
  • (3.40%) — The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget is a “nonpartisan, non-profit organization” that focuses on “issues with significant fiscal policy impact”

“Axios is clearly investing in mobile and it’s paying off,” said Fletcher. “They are nearing two-thirds of all clicks in that market. Paid Trump-related text ads, whether on desktop or mobile, are an odd missed opportunity for many publishers, brands, and organizations.”

Like organic desktop performance, also dominated mobile organic search clicks. However, the gap there was even wider.

“To steal a popular phrase from Donald Trump, his lead in mobile organic is huge,” added Fletcher. “The team is investing in desktop and mobile search ads, but their organic reach is so sizable that they can be outspent by others and still find success.”

About Adthena

Adthena is The Ultimate Search Intelligence Solution. It serves hundreds of the world’s largest advertisers through its patented “Whole Market View” technology. Updated daily and unrivaled, Adthena uses machine learning to help digital marketers understand their paid and organic search landscape and improve campaign performance. Processing over 10TB of new data, indexing 500 million adverts and 200 million keywords in 15 different languages every day, Adthena works with over 250 clients spread across 14 different business sectors ranging from retail, finance, travel and automotive. Brand customers include Autotrader,, HSBC, The National Lottery, Burberry, Atlassian, Air New Zealand, ANZ, Bunnings, and Westpac. Agency customers include media specialists like GroupM and channel specific paid search experts iProspect. The user-friendly interface segments data to provide insights into partner management, strategic benchmarking, gap analysis, ad copy analysis and brand protection.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here