Welcome to FWIW, ACRONYM’s weekly newsletter breaking down digital strategy in the 2020 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.
With 87 days to go until Election Day, the Trump and Biden campaigns and outside groups are kicking their advertising efforts into high gear. Both sides have begun a full-court press to engage Latino voters, using organic and paid media efforts in Spanish reaching audiences from Tucson to Tampa. In this week’s FWIW, we take a look at how their outreach to different Latino communities has taken shape online.
2020, BY THE NUMBERS
Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has spent over $114.9 million on Facebook + Google advertising since the midterm elections. Joe Biden has spent $47.1 million advertising on those same platforms. Here’s how much each campaign spent just last week:
While the Trump campaign continues to significantly outspend Biden online, this week we learned that the Biden campaign has made $220 million in TV reservations in 15 states starting September 1 through the fall – but only $60 million on digital ads. While the level of investment and expansive map they have put forward are excellent news, it is a little surprising that in 2020 the Biden campaign still sees their path to victory through a more old-school, TV-first playbook. Either that, or they’re expecting and signaling to outside groups to make up the difference online.
FWIW, here are the rest of the top spenders on Facebook last week:
…and here’s what last week looked like in terms of Google advertising:
Each week, we’re breaking down Facebook spending in key presidential battleground states, beginning with Arizona, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Here’s how much the campaigns and major outside groups spent on ads focused on the presidential race from July 26 to August 1:
DEEP DIVE: “NO HOPE WITHOUT THE LATINO VOTE.”
In competitive states with large Latino communities like Arizona, Texas, and Florida, outreach to this segment of the electorate has always been crucial to winning statewide, especially for Democrats. Now though, a significant component of that outreach has moved online, and the campaigns and outside groups are using Spanish language advertising or culturally relevant messaging to compete heavily for voters from Phoenix to Miami.
For starters, here’s an interactive look at the Latino voting population in presidential battleground states according to data gathered by the Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends project:
While communities of Latino voters are critical to Joe Biden’s success this fall, data shows and prominent leaders have warned that support and enthusiasm for his candidacy has been lacking, at least compared to 2016. The Biden campaign aims to fix that, this week rolling out a “Biden Agenda for the Latino Community,” a sweeping plan to address issues from the economy to education to “help the Latino community thrive.” They used slick web videos, a Facebook Live organizing charla (or chat) with prominent progressive leaders, and appearances at events with groups like NALEO to roll out the plan.
#TeamJoe also dropped several new digital ads boosting his record to target Spanish-language audiences in Florida and Arizona, on top of running several previous ads jabbing at Trump:
And on the first anniversary of the racist mass shooting in El Paso this week, they released a 60-second Spanish-subbed tribute on YouTube.
In addition to the Biden campaign, there are a host of national and local groups doing critical work to reach Latino voters day-in and day-out. Nuestro PAC, for one, has begun to provide regular air cover for Biden on Facebook with swing state video ads attacking Trump or promoting Joe:
Republicans’ messaging towards these groups of voters has been a little less… aspirational. The Committee to Defend the President was universally panned last week for running an openly racist ad trying to stoke animosity between Latino and Black voters.
When it comes to the Trump campaign, they have primarily focused Latino outreach on anti-socialism and pro-”American Dream” messaging over the past year. Their Latinos for Trump Facebook page has recently run some Spanish-language ads, such as one recent video that features a testimonial from two Trump-loving Latino restaurant owners in Arizona. They also ran the ad on YouTube targeting swing states.
For the most part, however, Team Trump just runs the same ads they run elsewhere but with “Latinos for Trump” plastered all over them. The Trump campaign also started recently running an ad on YouTube and FB titled “La Izquierda son extremistas” that uses their same old rhetoric calling Biden weak and socialist, but here they’ve added the extra twist of trying to tie Biden to Che Guevera and Nicolás Maduro, and accusing him of wanting to weaken charter schools.
That’s it for FWIW this week! Before you go, we have one more ask of you. As the general election heats up, it’s more important than ever for our friends and colleagues to stay in the know on what’s happening with the campaign. If you’re one of the over 14,000 people who enjoy reading FWIW each week, give us a follow on Twitter, and help get out the word by forwarding this email to two friends who care about democracy + the money that influences it.