The slow return of political Twitter ads
Campaigns and PACs have been slow to add Twitter ads back into their digital media mix
Despite major campaign launches and competitive primaries heating up, political advertisers have been slow to return to Twitter since the company reinstated political advertising earlier this year.
In this week’s FWIW, we’ll break down how much campaigns have spent on the platform this year, speak to a researcher who is tracking the latest ads closely, and explain Twitter’s complicated history with ad policy. But first…
By the numbers
FWIW, political advertisers spent just over $6 million on Facebook and Instagram ads last week. These were the top ten spenders nationwide:
The top-spending political advertiser on Facebook and Instagram last week was the right-wing Daily Wire, which is heavily promoting its anti-trans “What is a Woman” documentary during Pride Month. This year’s Pride season is taking place as the LGBT+ community faces increasing attacks online and off.
Meanwhile, political campaigns spent $749,000 on Google and YouTube ads last week. These were the top ten spenders:
Donald Trump was the highest-spending political advertiser on Google last week, mostly running these Google Search ads for fundraising purposes. Meanwhile, Tim Scott’s Super PAC (TIM PAC) ran these biographical YouTube ads backing the Senator, and Ron DeSantis’ Super PAC (Never Back Down) spent heavily on Search ads for fundraising. It’s getting crowded in here.
In Kentucky’s off-year gubernatorial race, Democrat Andy Beshear’s re-election campaign ran a wave of YouTube ads last week touting his administration’s record on economic growth and disaster recovery.
Likewise, Defending Bluegrass Values – a group affiliated with the Democratic Governors Association – was also a top spender on Google and YouTube. The group went after Beshear’s Republican opponent for his record on crime and tied him to the state’s unpopular former Governor, Matt Bevin.
Political advertisers in the United States have spent around $2.1 million on Snapchat advertising in 2023. Here are the top ten spenders YTD:
Your 2024 digital dispatch
FWIW, here’s how much money likely or confirmed 2024 presidential candidates have spent on Facebook + Google ads to date (1/1 - 6/10):
For three weeks in a row, Ron DeSantis & his allied Super PAC have been the top-spending digital advertisers nationwide among 2024 hopefuls. While the Florida Governor has spent more nationally, Tim Scott’s campaign leads the rest of the field in terms of Facebook ad spending in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina
Donald Trump’s campaign has once again successfully used his ongoing legal troubles to raise millions upon millions of dollars
Mike Pence is one of the only 2024 campaigns not selling merch, probably because no one would wear it. Hunter Schwarz at Yello wrote about how Pence’s white-bread campaign branding is a throwback to traditional conservative campaigns
FWIW reader & digital strategist Josh Klemons subscribed to all of the GOP candidates’ email lists and published this analysis on what he learned about their email programs >>
Rob Flaherty, Director of Digital Strategy at the White House, is departing the WH and heading to a leadership role on the Biden campaign. His team has spread the admin’s message in new and interesting ways, engaging with internet heavy hitters like Heather Cox Richardson or celebrity influencers like Olivia Rodrigo and the Jonas Brothers. ICYMI, we published this interview with Flaherty early last year.
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From around the internet…
According to Elon Musk (so take it with a grain of salt), Twitter creators will soon be able to download the email addresses and other contact info of their subscribers. If true (and if it applies to all Twitter users) the potential for political brands is huge.
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