The Trump team has spent more than double what Democratic contenders combined have on these ads, according to Bully Pulpit Interactive. The Washington D.C., communications agency’s tally is based on data from Facebook and Google’s political ad transparency reports.
Between Dec. 30, 2018, and March 10, 2019, the Trump campaign spent $3.5 million on Facebook ads, and another $1 million on Google ads. For reference, in the same period, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren spent $595,000 in total as the top ad-spending Democratic candidate on Facebook and Google.
“This is an unprecedented level of investment this early, and especially from an incumbent President,” Mike Schneider, a partner at Bully Pulpit Interactive told Axios. Jessica Alter, the co-founder of Tech for Campaigns added that candidates right now are going to where the voters are, many of whom are active on social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Trump’s campaign is being led by Brad Parscale, an American digital consultant who has worked for the campaign even before Trump officially announced his 2016 White House bid. At the time, Parscale told Wired that the social media network helped generate almost $250 million in online fundraising.
“Our biggest incubator that allowed us to generate that money was Facebook,” Parscale said. “Facebook and Twitter were the reason we won this thing.”
According to Parscale, Trump was a “perfect candidate” for Facebook because his content serves as clickbait. Facebook rewards engagement, and Trump’s content engaged a lot of Facebook users, so his ads also cost less.