Welcome to FWIW, ACRONYM’s weekly newsletter breaking down digital strategy and investments across the political spectrum. Each week, we look at how campaigns are – or aren’t – leveraging smart digital strategies to drive narratives and win elections.
For what it’s worth, some of it might surprise you.
Amy Klobuchar’s unexpected third-place finish in New Hampshire’s primary this week stunned observers and quickly catapulted her into the top tier of Democratic candidates (as definedby the mainstream media). Propelled by strong debate performances and a waning Joe Biden lead, her campaign has begun to raise loads of cash and look onwards to Super Tuesday. We’ll take a deep dive into her campaign’s digital strategy below.
2020, by the numbers
Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has spent over $43.3 million on Facebook + Google since the 2018 midterm elections. Last week, his campaign ramped up spending significantly, while launching a wave of pretty jarring new video ads on Facebook highlighting what they perceive as media elites mocking his supporters. Click below to watch:
The Democratic contest shrunk significantly this week, as Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet, Deval Patrick ended their campaigns following Tuesday’s contest. Perhaps more than any other candidate in recent history, Andrew Yang’s campaign was powered by the internet, and his legions of online supporters in Facebook Groups, on Reddit, and even Discord propelled him onto the debate stage time and time again. 🧢 Sadly, the #YangGang didn’t translate to early state support, but he’s already alluded to getting back into the arena soon.
Wasting little time to seize on his departure from the race, Tom Steyer’s team was ready to try and harness the power of the #YangGang for their own purposes.
Meanwhile, Mike Bloomberg’s campaign blew up the internet with an unexpected and pretty genius meme content strategy. Well done, Team Mike. 🏻 However, Facebook won’t be regulating these memes the way they would other political ads, even though sponsored content by their very definition, includes advertising…🤦🏻♀️
Front-runner Bernie Sanders’ campaign spent over $1 million on Facebook + Google last week, continuing to ramp up his digital spending week over week, and quickly catching up to the Buttigieg campaign. Here’s their comparative total Facebook + Google spend this cycle:
Meanwhile, Buttigieg continues to get air support from outside groups like VoteVets, who launched a new wave of ads ahead of next week’s Nevada caucuses.
…and here are the top political ad spenders on Facebook + Google last week:
🤗 Shameless plug: ACRONYM’s affiliated political action committee, PACRONYM, is up this week with a new wave of digital ads hitting Trump on his recent admission that his administration would cut Medicare. The campaign has started running on streaming video platforms + Facebook in AZ, WI, MI, PA, and NC… here are just a few of the ads:
Deep Dive: Klobmentum, Klobusurge, It’s Klobberin’ time?
Amy Klobuchar was on many peoples’ minds Tuesday night after finishing ahead of Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden in the New Hampshire primary. How did she power an 11th hour NH surge? Will she be able to keep it up? Unlike Warren and others, Klobuchar has been slow to spend online, and hasn’t built the staff infrastructure around the country to get out the vote on Super Tuesday and beyond. She also used her New Hampshire 3rd place finish speech to literally introduce herself to folks checking her out on the socials for the first time.
Her campaign has spent significantly less than the other leading candidates on Facebook + Google, totaling just under $4 million since her entry into the race. Here’s how that compares to others:
About two-thirds of that spend has been on fundraising-focused Facebook ads, and the rest on Google search ads. Over the last year, her name has been highly searched on Google during a few key moments – specifically, during the televised debates. Here’s Google Trends data on search interest in ‘Amy Klobuchar:’
…and maybe that’s why she’s prioritized investment in Google Search ads instead of YouTube – running with scarce ad dollars, her team attempted to capitalize on those TV moments. Here’s her corresponding Google ad spend:
In fact, as far as we can tell, her campaign has only run 6 YouTube ads ever. 🤯
On Facebook, her campaign has run pretty conventional fundraising ads since her announcement last year, and has often used the tagline “plans, not pipe dreams” to differentiate her campaign.
Regardless, if the Klobmentum/Klobusurge is going to continue, her team will have to scale quickly both offline and off. Looking ahead, they just announced a “seven-figure” ad buy next week, which will include TV and digital spends in Nevada ahead of the caucus. Time will tell but in the meantime, we are here for some of the memes we’re seeing posted by her #Klobucharmy on Twitter…
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That’s all for FWIW this week! But before you go, we have one more ask of you! We’re tracking the digital battle for control of the U.S. Senate via our new newsletter, The Senate FYI. Check out the first issues here, and click below to subscribe!