Dec 14, 2019 - Economy

Campaigns target younger voters online

Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Campaigns are using targeted digital platforms to reach younger voters, especially first-time voters.

Driving the news: Facebook has become the primary platform for candidates to spend their political dollars online. The tech giant makes it easy for campaigns to buy ads at scale targeted to different age groups.

  • In total, since March, Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg have collectively spent the largest amount of their Facebook ad budgets targeting Gen Z (people ages 13-24) and millennials (people ages 25-44) online.
  • Joe Biden has focused the least on the youngest voters.

Between the lines: While Facebook and Instagram are both used by people of all ages, its rival app Snapchat reaches a much younger demographic.

  • Donald Trump's campaign and an affiliated PAC have spent a combined $43,955 this year on Snapchat ads — the exact same amount as the Pete Buttigieg's campaign. Many of Buttigieg's ads are targeted specifically toward college students.
  • While the spend on Snapchat is dwarfed by the millions spent by Democratic candidates on Facebook and Google ads, the data provides insight into how candidates are targeting young and first-time voters ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

The bottom line: Digital advertising makes it easier for candidates to target younger voters at a fraction of the cost of TV ads.

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