Welcome to FWIW, ACRONYM’s weekly newsletter breaking down digital ad investment across the political spectrum. Each week, we look at whose digital spending is up, whose is down, and whose is non-existent.
For what it’s worth, some of it might surprise you.
It’s International Women’s Day, and as Democrats continue to define themselves as the party that stands up for and represents women, we took a look at how the historic presidential primary field is recognizing Women’s History Month. Here’s a hint – not all of them are…
2020 by the numbers
Here is a list of top political spenders on Facebook last week. Google’s transparency report hasn’t been updated, so when it’s up and running again we’ll include those numbers.
Note that one of the top spenders last week was Ben Yee, a candidate for New York public advocate. In the final days leading up to the election, Yee spent over $86,000 on digital ads yet only received 2.6% of the vote on Election Day. Check out our issue on the New York public advocate race and Chicago mayoral election last week – and thank you to a follower who flagged that we missed $35K of Facebook ads run by Jumaane D. Williams, the winner of the public advocate race, under a different disclaimer.
Last week, Trump’s committees invested over $233K on Facebook ads alone – that’s more than all the declared 2020 Democrats spent combined in the same time period. Trump has now spent over $4.8 million on Facebook and Google since the midterms (and that doesn’t include what he may have spent in the past two weeks on Google since their transparency report hasn’t updated).
Sanders campaign also tapered off its spending last week – after investing over $270K on Facebook ads in the first week of his campaign.
Deep Dive: Remember the ladies
March 1st marked the beginning of Women’s History Month, so for this week – and as we recognize International Women’s Day globally – we looked at which candidates on the Democratic side are recognizing the month – and how.
We analyzed each declared Democratic candidate’s Twitter and Instagram feeds from the beginning of this month, and identified which candidates recognized Women’s History Month, or International Women’s Day (these stats are as of 11am Friday 3/8 so any late-posters aren’t included). Here’s what we found:
Of the six women who have declared candidacies in the 2020 race, we found that every one of them posted on Instagram or Twitter about Women’s History Month except Tulsi Gabbard (Marianne Williamson only posted to Twitter, but the other five declared women candidates posted to both Instagram and Facebook at least once – if not multiple times).
Of the eight men who have entered the race, only two – Cory Booker and John Delaney – recognized Women’s History Month on their Twitter or Instagram channels. John Hickenlooper, however, did post a photo of his mother recognizing International Women’s Day, so we counted that.
The content itself varied across candidates – some posted celebratory images or recognized trailblazing women in history like these:
Some recognized women in their own lives who made an impact on them:
And some celebrated women and girls they’ve met along the campaign trail:
Leveraging any of these strategies can drive multiple narratives simultaneously. It can convey to voters that women’s voices will play a large role in their campaigns and that women voters will be critical to their election. But it can also be an opportunity to highlight more personal sides of the candidate – through an old photo, or recognizing an inspiring woman who helped shape who they are today, or through promoting candid moments on the trail. And the candidates who don’t take advantage of these moments miss out on those opportunities.
Bonus: Viability threshhold?
Today Andrew Yang announced he’s raised money from over 51,000 donors across the country, inching closer to the 65,000 donors needed form 20 states in order to qualify for the Democratic presidential debate stage. Perhaps launching a campaign in November 2017 pays off…
We’ll be keeping track of when candidates reach that viability threshhold for the first Democratic debate – and who doesn’t make the cut .