Jun 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden's digital advertising splurge

Data: Advertising Analytics; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Advertising Analytics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Joe Biden has poured money into digital advertising over the past two weeks in an attempt to capitalize on Trump's response to nationwide protests about police violence. The majority of the money has been spent on Facebook over Google.

Why it matters: The Trump campaign attributes much of its 2016 success to its digital advertising strategy on Facebook and until now, the Biden campaign has been outspent by the Trump campaign online, and especially on Facebook.

Details: Biden's spend increased by roughly 5 times his usual weekly expenditure on Facebook the week of May 31st, according to data provided to Axios from Advertising Analytics.

  • Before that, in the four weeks following the conclusion of the Democratic primary, Joe Biden has spent nearly an equal amount to the President on digital advertising, primarily on Google and Facebook.
  • That's notable given the fact that since mid-March, the Trump campaign has outspent the Biden campaign on digital $20.3 million to $13.4 million.

By the numbers: According to a Biden campaign official, the campaign has spent $1 million on Google since June 1st, and $5.5 million on Facebook. The advertising has helped to drive 1.2 million new sign ups on the campaign's email list.

  • Still, the Trump campaign has a head start, having spent millions on Facebook ads since the beginning of 2019.
  • As a result, the Trump campaign's operation typically runs 10 times the number of unique creatives, or ad variations, as the Biden campaign, per Advertising Analytics.

The big picture: Both campaigns have been spending nearly all of their money on direct response ads, which are ads that try to get you to donate or sign up to volunteer for something via a click.

  • Persuasion ads, or ads that try to get you to cast a ballot, typically begin to ramp up after conventions, and later in the general campaign.
  • So far, each candidate has put less than 1% of their budget to video persuasion ads, but in the last 2 weeks, the Trump campaign has begun run persuasion ads targeting Biden over comments he made about freezing government spending, including social security. He's also messaging on the “comeback economy."
  • Biden's ads often focus generally on Trump's leadership during crisis.

Go deeper: Money still pouring into election ads

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