We’re less than 100 days out from Election Day, and the Trump campaign passed the $100 million mark this week in digital spending since the midterms. Meanwhile, Trump’s new campaign manager is putting their TV ads on hold, and the New York Times reports that they may be past the point of no return in Michigan. Let’s dig in.
2020, BY THE NUMBERS
Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has spent over $103.8 million on Facebook + Google advertising since the midterm elections. Joe Biden has spent $43.2 million advertising on those same platforms. The latest Google data was not made available to the public through their Transparency Report, so here’s how much each campaign spent just last week on Facebook:
We know money isn’t everything, but the Trump campaign has shown that it’s willing to spend at a clip online that makes it impossible for Team Biden to catch up. Since mid-June, they’ve spent over $5 million a week on Facebook and Google alone. Obviously, the majority of that spend has been on fundraising and merch ads, but they are spending heavily on persuasion video ads too. Team Biden, on the other hand, is spending, well…more conservatively. 🤐
FWIW, here are the rest of the top 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. We’ll soon be expanding our tracking here to include additional states we think may be in play. Here’s how much the campaigns and major outside groups spent on ads focused on the presidential race from July 19th to July 25th:
Last week, the Republican National Committee ramped up spending on the platform by over 300% compared to last week, catapulting themselves into the list of top Facebook political ad spenders nationwide – and they appear to be targeting key presidential swing states to boot.
Almost all of the RNC’s most recent ads aim to shore up voter registration among GOP supporters in key states like AZ, GA, IA, NC, PA, and WI.
THE WEEKLY ROUND-UP
Reality check: Trump ditching Michigan?
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that the Trump campaign has been slowly shifting ad dollars (especially TV) away from Michigan. While this is definitely an -worthy development, we should remain clear-eyed about the fact that the Trump campaign is not by any means abandoning efforts there. And it’s entirely likely that, after they try to get their act together during their apparent ad hiatus, they’ll be back on the air in this must-win battleground in the next few weeks.
The Trump campaign and RNC are very much on the ground in Michigan – in fact, the RNC Chair *lives there*, and their Facebook ad spending in the state has actually almost doubled from about ~$80k in mid-June to ~$146k this week. While they may be hitting pause on TV, they continue to blanket Michiganders newsfeeds with persuasion video ads like the below crime spot we highlighted last week:
The Snap game is strong
Recently, as the Trump campaign has been dumping more and more money into Facebook and Google ads, they’ve also been spending less and less on Snapchat ads. Coincidentally (or not), the Biden campaign is back running ads on the platform for the first time in over a month.
According to data provided publicly by Snap, the Biden campaign spent over $24k on Snapchat ads over the past two weeks that, in total, have made 5.6 million impressions – a cost per impression of less than half a cent! FWIW, the Trump campaign hasn’t spent on Snapchat since early May.
Many of Biden’s most recent ads target voters aged 18-34 in the suburbs and exurbs around Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Jacksonville. These six-second ads hype Biden among that crucial Democratic voting bloc with scripts like “This energy here is gonna change the country. Joe Biden will bring THAT energy back to the White House.”
Other Biden ads are more basic fundraising appeals targeting a mix of interest groups of all ages, including political news-watchers, advocates + activists, and “Green Living Enthusiasts.”
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’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.