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.
We thought last week was rough for the President, but this week was much, much worse. Trump’s Tulsa rally was a major flop, he may or may not be losing his campaign manager, and a handful of new polls out this week show Biden with a strong lead in nearly every battleground state and then some. Meanwhile, the TikTok teens are messing with the Trump campaign’s data game, and conservatives vowed to ditch mainstream social media for a new app. We’ll dig into all that and more, but first…
2020, BY THE NUMBERS
Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has spent over $75.7 million on Facebook + Google advertising since the midterm elections. Joe Biden has spent $34.8 million advertising on those same platforms. Here’s how much each campaign spent just last week:
The Biden campaign continues to spend heavily online, especially on Google. The majority of their spend on the platform was for fundraising and acquisition, in addition to promoting their grassroots fundraiser with President Obama, which ended up raising over $11 million.
Here are the rest of the top spenders on Google last week:
On Facebook, the Trump campaign dominated spending nationwide and in most battleground key states. They continue to flood swing-state voters’ newsfeeds with new attack ads on Joe Biden’s age. Note: Trump is just three years younger than Biden.
FWIW, here are the rest of the top political spenders on Facebook last week:
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 June 14th to June 20th:
Last week, NextGen America ran Trump-related advertising on Facebook targeting younger audiences in a host of battleground states, many of which were an acquisition play asking for pledges to vote out Trump in November:
Personal news: ACRONYM formally kicked off its $11 million online voter registration and mobilization campaign this week, aiming to register and turnout 100,000 new voters of color in eight key states. We’ll be up on platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and maybe even TikTok () reaching hard-to-reach unregistered audiences:
THE WEEKLY ROUND-UP
A good week for Biden 🕶
The Biden campaign is quickly catching up to the President’s operation online and off – crushing fundraising records, making key digital and organizing hires, and leading in a handful of new battleground state polls.
This comes as the Trump campaign is hitting a wall. Their Tulsa rally last week was universally mocked, Trump’s endorsed candidates were defeated on Tuesday night, and Vanity Fair reported this week that campaign manager Brad Parscale could be on his way out the door. Brad’s vaunted data operation may be taking a hit too; TikTok teens continue to sign up for campaign events and surveys with fake information.
The kids are gonna be alright.
Meanwhile, as the President continues to feud with social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, some in his camp think that conservatives should move elsewhere to build their own networks. One such platform, Parler, got a lot of buzz this week when Ted Cruz joined the network. Tim Miller broke down the whole Parler situation well in the Bulwark today:
FWIW, we fully support the Trump campaign and other prominent conservatives fleeing mainstream social media for insular sites like Parler. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!
On a more serious note, Judd Legum’s Popular Information looked at how conservative news network The Daily Wire is gaming Facebook to distribute its content more than mainstream outlets like CNN and the New York Times. It’s a terrifying but important read.
New Exit Interviews!
And lastly, our team released two new Exit Interviews this week, highlighting the experiences of digital campaign staffers from the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. This week we featured the Yang campaign’s Andrew Frawley, and Travis Mockler from Team Inslee. Give them a watch + a share. 🍿
BEFORE YOU GO…
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 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.