Welcome to FWIW, ACRONYM’s weekly newsletter breaking down digital ad investment across the political spectrum. Each week, we look at whose digital spending is up, whose is down, and whose is non-existent.
For what it’s worth, some of it might surprise you.
December is upon us, which means the holiday season is in full swing. This week, we took a look at how groups on both sides of the aisle are talking about the holidays – and how they’re using the season to build lists, raise money and spread their messages.
By the numbers
Here’s a list of the top political spenders on Facebook the week of November 25 – December 1 and the causes they’re advocating for. Since this week covered Black Friday and Cyber Monday, many of these groups on the list are not currently running ads, but ran high volumes (and dollar amounts) of ads during those high-traffic shopping days.
Deep Dive – Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
As we dove into the Facebook Ad Archive this week, we noticed a lot of ads running promotions around the holiday season. Here, we looked at which organizations were running holiday ads to amplify their messages, raise money and build followings.
One not-so-surprising trend we noticed is that conservative-leaning organizations and causes comprise the majority of ads that specifically mention “Christmas.”
On the other hand, environmental-protection, humanitarian and global aid organizations top the Facebook advertisers running a more inclusive “holiday” message:
As we dove deeper, we noticed that the left-leaning and humanitarian organizations were running generic messages around supporting causes this holiday season, while the “Christmas”-focused ads were much more likely to be partisan and mention Trump.
Take a look:
The only directly partisan ads we found related to holiday promotion from a left-leaning group were these ads from NARAL:
Bonus: The other “season”
Not only is it the holiday season, but it’s also Open Enrollment season, meaning Americans can sign up or change their health care between November 1st and December 15th.
While there are a number of organizations promoting open enrollment, we only found one potential 2020 candidate (on the right OR the left) running ads encouraging Americans to take advantage of open enrollment season: Stacey Abrams.
The only other national political figure running ads related to open enrollment is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (but he hasn’t been a regular name among the 2020-potentials). And while many prominent officials mulling presidential bids are running ads mentioning health care, none of them actually direct viewers to make sure they’re signed up – but we’ll let you find those on your own.