Linkage analysis, i.e. linking media exposure, content, and surveys, has been a powerful tool to assess media effects. However, the development of online communication and the advent of social media brings about many challenges for traditional linkage designs. In this paper, we explain the three steps of linkage designs for online communication effects and the usage of computational approaches to capture communication exposure and content. We then review recent designs and studies that use different forms of digital trace data to link digital communication exposure, content, and surveys: Tracking data, data donations, and screenshots/screen recordings. We describe (practical) challenges and opportunities when linking digital communication traces with self-reports and show how these data could be analyzed to establish different media effects.