In the modern era of political campaigns, TV advertisements have traditionally been the go-to method of disseminating information about a candidate but new analysis suggests that digital advertising may be taking over.
According to the nonpartisan Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks political advertising, 2020 presidential campaigns have spent almost six times more money on digital advertising platforms such as Facebook and Google than they have on television advertising. The Hill’s Reid Wilson broke down the numbers provided by Wesleyan:
“Sixteen White House candidates including President Trump have spent at least $1 million on digital campaign spending. All told, the contenders have spent more than $60 million on online ads, compared to just $11 million on television. None have spent more than Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee, which have dropped a combined $15.9 million in online spending.”
“On the Democratic side, relative newcomer Tom Steyer has spent more than $6.6 million on online ads.”
“South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have all spent more than $4 million on digital ads. The race’s Democratic front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, has dropped $3.2 million online.”
“Candidates have tended to favor Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram over Google and its video channel, YouTube. The Wesleyan report released Thursday found campaigns spent about twice as much, $44 million, on Facebook and Instagram as on Google and YouTube, $21 million.”
The Rise Of Snapchat
A relative newcomer to the political advertising space is the social media platform Snapchat. While it has seen less political spending than Google or Facebook, a new analysis by OpenSecrets found that Snapchat has accounted for more than $1.2 million in political ad spending targeting the U.S. since June 2018. The study, which is based on newly-released data from the company, found that U.S. political ad spending on Snapchat totaled $594,324 in 2018 and $612,043 so far this year. A breakdown of the biggest spenders on the social media platform shows that it is primarily used by Democratic candidates and organizations.