Expand chart
Adapted from Advertising Analytics; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Why it matters: For a while, Trump was dominating online advertising spend on Google and Facebook, giving his campaign an unprecedented early lead in drumming up grassroots support ahead of 2020. Now, Democrats — led by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris — are catching up.

By the numbers: Just 2 months ago in March, Trump's campaign was outspending all Democrats combined on those platforms 2:1. Now, according to data from Advertising Analytics and Bully Pulpit Interactive:

  • Democrats have spent nearly twice as much as the Trump campaign since January.
  • In total, Democrats have spent roughly $12.7 million on digital ads on Google and Facebook since the beginning of the year.
  • The Trump campaign has spent $7.9 million.

Biden's campaign said that 70% of the $6.3 million that he raised in his campaign's first 24 hours, a record among the 2020 Dems, was from online.The strongest response came from videos featuring Biden, the campaign said.

How it works: At this stage in the campaign, candidates are using advertising mostly to build lists, collect data and solicit small-dollar fundraising.

  • Data collected from ad performance and dollars raised from digital ad campaigns will go toward buying and optimizing more expensive television ads.
  • At this point, most presidential contenders aren't thinking too much about television advertising.
  • According to FCC filings, only former Maryland Rep. John Delaney has even begun reserving local broadcast television spots in key swing states, like New Hampshire and Iowa.

The big picture: The ability for campaigns to buy cheap digital ads has upended the way political campaigns are run. And while this phenomenon isn't new, our ability to track it is.

  • Traditionally, direct mail has been used to solicit fundraising this early on in the campaign, which can be more expensive and is harder to get feedback from in real time.
  • Now, digital ads allow campaigns to build up their lists early for fundraising down the road, and it allows them to test which messages resonate with different potential voters before targeting them with more expensive outreach, like television ads.

Be smart: This level of insight into what campaigns spend on Google and Facebook, which makes up the majority of online digital ad spending, has been made possible by the implementation of ad archives from both companies last year. Previously, data about political ad spend on these platforms was relatively unknown.

Go deeper

Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence

Roger Stone arriving at his sentencing hearing on Feb. 20. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump on Friday evening commuted the sentence of his longtime associate Roger Stone, according to two senior administration officials. Stone in February was sentenced to 40 months in prison for crimes including obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress.

Why it matters: The controversial move brings an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars. He had been scheduled to report to prison on July 14.

Updated 10 hours ago - Health

Which states have set single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: COVID Tracking Project and state health department data compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti and Naema Ahmed/Axios

13 states this week surpassed records set just last week for their highest number of coronavirus infections in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project and state health department data. 16 states in total reported new highs.

The big picture: The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't just due to increased testing — particularly where the number of cases has grown fastest over the last month, Axios' Andrew Witherspoon and Caitlin Owens report.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 12,389,660 — Total deaths: 557,279 — Total recoveries — 6,830,596Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 3,169,611 — Total deaths: 133,885 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,856,341Map.
  3. Public health: The reality of the coronavirus bites.
  4. Trade: Trump says he's no longer considering phase-two trade deal with China because the pandemic damaged the two countries' relationship.
  5. 🎧 Podcast: Rural America has its own coronavirus problem.