May 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump's biggest targets on Facebook during coronavirus

Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive, Chart: Dani Alberti/Axios

Donald Trump has spent far more Facebook ad dollars targeting topics like "fake news" and "immigration" during the pandemic than any policy area, according to new data provided to Axios from political ad firm Bully Pulpit Interactive. Joe Biden has spent an overwhelming majority of his Facebook ads talking about the president and health care.

Why it matters: The president's re-election messaging hasn't shifted all that much during the pandemic, except that the president is focusing slightly more now on targeting the press than on immigration.

Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive, Chart: Dani Alberti/Axios
  • Biden's campaign has focused more messaging on the president's response to the coronavirus crisis.

Be smart: Facebook is still a good indicator of how messaging strategies have evolved for both campaigns.

  • The campaigns are mostly still focusing on direct response advertising right now, or ads that try to get you to donate or sign up to volunteer for something via a click, and many of those ads are purchased on Facebook.
  • So far, two-thirds of all political ad dollars this cycle (including other political and advocacy campaigns) have been spent on "direct response" ads online.

Between the lines: These charts do not show the total Facebook spending made by both candidates during the pandemic. It leaves out big portions of spending around generic fundraising topics like surveys and birthdays — i.e. sign a birthday card for this candidate or take this survey on behalf of the campaign.

Go deeper: Trumpworld's plan to brand Biden

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