Dark Brandon’s A+ trolling game
The Biden campaign joined Truth Social. Here’s what they’re posting...
This week, the Biden campaign once again unleashed “Dark Brandon” (the President’s more aggressive, meme-worthy alter ego) by joining Donald Trump’s fringe social media network, Truth Social. While the move was mostly a fun gimmick deployed by the President’s digital team to troll his chief rival and generate a little earned media, his team’s posting strategy gives some interesting insights into how they’re thinking about effective content heading into next year.
We’ll break that down and more in this week’s FWIW. But first…
By the numbers
FWIW, political advertisers spent just over $10.1 million on Facebook and Instagram ads last week. These were the top ten spenders nationwide:
Some news you may have missed: State Attorney General Jeff Landry was elected Governor of Louisiana last weekend, when he received over 50% of the vote in the state’s all-party primary. He’ll replace Gov. John Bel Edwards, who identifies as a conservative Democrat, and flip the governor’s mansion from blue to red. Landry is a staunch ally of Donald Trump and ran campaign ads focused on “woke politics” and crime.
Online, Landry’s ad strategy was pretty unique among Republicans. His campaign promoted dozens of Facebook posts featuring local endorsements, boosted news articles, and photos from campaign events, spending over $420,000 on Facebook and Instagram in the past 90 days. (FWIW, that’s more money than most battleground GOP gubernatorial campaigns spent on digital ads in the entire 2022 cycle.)
Does this mean Republicans finally learned their lesson when it comes to neglecting online ad spending? We’ll see.
Meanwhile, political campaigns spent $2.5 million on Google and YouTube ads last week. Here were the top ten spenders nationwide:
On YouTube, Pro-Trump Super PAC Make America Great Again, Inc moved quickly to tie the Israel-Gaza conflict (and broader global chaos) to President Biden’s foreign policy agenda. They’re running a new video ad targeting Republican primary voters in Iowa asserting that “President Trump will keep us safe,” while comparing/contrasting Trump’s foreign policy achievements with the current news cycle.
The high-stakes Virginia legislative elections are just a few weeks away, and we’re beginning to see spending increase on both sides of the aisle. Everytown for Gun Safety’s political arm is running video ads that pack an emotional punch - attacking MAGA Republicans and candidates who have done nothing to prevent gun violence.
…and on Snapchat, political campaigns and organizations in the United States have spent around $2 million on advertising in 2023. Here are the top ten spenders YTD:
Your 2024 digital dispatch
FWIW, here’s how much money the 2024 presidential candidates have spent on Facebook + Google ads to date (1/1 - 10/14):
…and here’s how weekly digital ad spending compares between the Trump and Biden campaigns:
For 17 weeks in a row, the Biden campaign has outspent Trump on digital advertising.
After weeks of spending very little on digital ads, also-ran candidate Doug Burgum spent over $17,000 on Google and YouTube ads and $6,800 on Facebook and Instagram ads last week.
Mike Pence has had a very quiet week on the campaign trail following reports that he is facing significant money issues. Per our tracking, he’s spent the least on digital ads out of the entire presidential field.
From around the internet:
2028 campaign-in-waiting? Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker launched a new 501(c)4 political organization this week called Think Big America. He joins fellow Democrats like Gavin Newsom and Gretchen Whitmer (among others) in launching a nationally-focused political group.
Readers of FWIW are well aware that we’re obsessed with news consumption on Instagram. This week, the Washington Post wrote about a super successful local news account in Miami called Only in Dade.
With so much nonsense coming from his mouth, it’s sometimes easy to ignore or dismiss Donald Trump’s dangerous rhetoric. In his new Stop the Presses newsletter published earlier this week, Mark Jacob argues that the press can’t afford to look away.
Sen. John Fetterman shared a candid moment with a Trump supporter on a UAW picket line last weekend, and The Keystone caught it on camera.
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Biden trolls on Truth
This week, the Biden campaign once again unleashed “Dark Brandon” (the President’s more aggressive, meme-worthy alter ego) by joining Donald Trump’s fringe social media network, Truth Social.
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