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.
Today is Juneteenth! At ACRONYM, we’ve given our staff the day off to commemorate this holiday and hope you’re able to take the day off or at least find a way to celebrate, reflect, or take action in your own community.
As Americans continue to mobilize for justice and against police brutality, the President is under fire for using Nazi symbolism in his campaign ads and for encouraging the Chinese government’s use of concentration camps. 🤯 All this comes as the Biden campaign is leading in the polls, raising record sums of money, and announcing new major ad blitzes. We round up those developments + more below.
2020, BY THE NUMBERS
Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has spent over $72.3 million on Facebook and Google advertising alone since the 2018 midterm elections. The Biden campaign has spent $31.5 million on those same platforms since launching last spring. Here’s how much each campaign spent on Facebook and Google last week.
After being dramatically outspent the week before, the Trump campaign narrowly edged out Team Biden in terms of spending last week. On Facebook, most of the president’s ads were the same old fundraising ads that raise huge sums of small-dollar cash. But one set of ads in particular, which *casually used Nazi symbols* to attack “Antifa,” raised some eyebrows….so much so that Facebook actually took action and pulled them down. Some things don’t even surprise us anymore…but Facebook actually taking action against Trump’s bullsh*t? That’s truly shocking.
FWIW, here are the top 10 political ad spenders on Facebook last week nationwide:
The ad wars continue on Google and YouTube too, with the Trump campaign spending over $1 million last week alone. Much of Trump’s ads were hyping the President’s Birthday for fundraising…but this Mortal Kombat themed ad from the Trump campaign stands out:
Team Biden doesn’t have anything near that flashy running online, but they have been flooding the internet with fundraising appeals like this, which seems to be working. Last month they (along with the DNC) raised $81 million, and tripled the number of online donors since February.
Here are the rest of the top political spenders on Google 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 7th to June 13th:
When it comes to persuasion Facebook advertising where it counts, as you can see the President remains underwater. The coalition of Democratic outside groups and the Biden campaign are spending significantly more to reach critical voters with persuasive video content and boosted news than Team Trump. While paid advertising on Facebook is only one small piece of a powerful digital strategy, it’s historically been an area where Trump has dominated.
THE WEEKLY ROUND-UP
Facebook injects itself into the conversation…again
On top of that, Facebook rolled major changes this week involving elections and voting, many of which are positive. In a USA Today op-ed, Mark Zuckerberg personally laid out the changes and his reasoning behind them – it’s worth a read. One noteworthy piece: users can choose to “opt-out” of political ads. This change isn’t actually new as Facebook first announced it earlier this year, but if it’s implemented anything like their other optional data privacy and targeting settings, its unlikely many battleground state swing voters will actually take advantage of the feature.
The Air Wars
Following their huge fundraising haul in May, the Biden campaign announced a battleground state ad blitz this week, committing to spending $15 million on TV and digital platforms to reach swing voters. Meanwhile, the Lincoln Project released a brutal, controversial new ad that highlights rumors around the President’s health – the video received millions of views in just 24 hours.
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!