Welcome to FWIW, ACRONYM’s weekly newsletter breaking down digital strategy + investment in our elections. Each week, we look at how campaigns are – or aren’t – leveraging smart digital strategies to drive narratives and reach voters. For what it’s worth, some of it might surprise you.
It’s the last Friday before Christmas, and for campaigns looking to reach voters in Georgia, Santa came early this year. Facebook and Google are finally allowing candidates and organizations to buy digital ads on their platforms for the Georgia U.S. Senate elections, and this week we got our first look at who is up and who’s down in the Peach State.
But first… this is our last FWIW of 2020! As we plan for 2021 and beyond, we’d love your thoughts on the future of this newsletter. What topics beyond digital ad spending would you like to see in your inbox every Friday in the new year? Let us know by filling out this very quick survey here! (only takes 15 seconds!!)
THE ADS ARE BACK
Political ads on Google and Facebook are back, and that means we can now pull together a clearer picture of how the campaigns are investing ad dollars to reach voters online. Google officially flipped the switch back on 12/10, so here are the top spenders on Google advertising within the state of Georgia since then.
Republican outside groups were prepared to jump back into the fight on Google, dominating spending during the platform’s first few days back. Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund leads the pack, running several anti-Ossoff attack ads across the states, while excluding audiences around Atlanta and other Dem-leaning zip codes.
Their main lines of attack against both Warnock and Ossoff seem to be the same old cries of “socialist” and “radical” that we’ve seen for months. Judd Legum on Twitter pointed out that one of the most dishonest outside attacks on Warnock spins a clip of a past speech out of context to say “God Damn America.” In the full audio, Warnock was actually just discussing the 2008 controversy around Rev. Jeremiah Wright, explaining to his audience what happened. Now, American Crossroads is running that 6 second clip statewide – and Google and Facebook are letting them get away with it.
As Facebook ads in Georgia began going live 48 hours ago, it’s too early to take a comprehensive look at Facebook ad spending data – but, we can see the Ossoff, Warnock, and Perdue campaigns are already up and running, as well as a handful of outside groups – Fair Fight, Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity, and Georgia Honor.
In other news, Republicans apparently DGAF about young people in Georgia. Just take a look at their spending on Snapchat advertising since Election Day.
A constellation of progressive or non-partisan outside groups have been using Snapchat advertising as one tool to register, educate, and mobilize younger Georgians to vote in January.
With unprecedented levels of cash being spent on these raises, we expect all of the above spending numbers to increase exponentially in the next two weeks. If you’re interested in digging more into the state of the Georgia Senate race online, take a look at last week’s issue of FWIW where we highlighted each of the candidates’ organic engagement online.
ENGAGEMENT = PERSUSASION?
One of the most exciting products to come out of our team this cycle was called DOROTHY – a tool to optimize the placement of boosted news articles on Facebook to more effectively and efficiently persuade voters.
It’s that time in the election cycle that many of you may be looking for your next big moves. We want to help do our part, so we’ll continue sharing opportunities from our friends + partners over the coming weeks. If you’re an organization or campaign and want to recruit via this newsletter, send us an email!