Jul 19, 2019

Where Trump's Facebook spending goes

Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive; Table: Harry Stevens/Axios

When it comes to political ads on Facebook, President Trump is still outspending all of his Democratic rivals by millions of dollars. But he's avoiding many of the issues that they're focused on to instead spend heavily on immigration messaging.

Why it matters: Trump knows that in order to win again in 2020, he needs to target two populations: older, white voters and Hispanic voters and the way he targets Facebook advertising by topic reflects that approach.

Driving the news: From March 30 until July 6, President Trump has outspent his 2020 Democratic rivals combined roughly 3.45:1 on Facebook advertising around immigration issues, according to data from Bully Pulpit Interactive.

While many of Trump's Facebook ads focus on fear-mongering around immigration, others do the exact opposite, and try to actually lure minority voters.

  • One active ad campaign running on Donald J. Trump's Facebook page (paid for by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee) urges supporters to sign a petition to "terminate chain migration" because "Many of these chain migrants are not thoroughly vetted. This policy is a shameless Washington BETRAYAL of regular Americans whose safety is put at risk."
  • But another active campaign coming from the Donald J. Trump's Facebook page is currently running hundreds of ads on Facebook for "LATINOS FOR TRUMP." The ads urge voters to text "VAMOS" to a code number to get involved in the campaign. "¬°APOYA AL PRESIDENTE TRUMP!" many ads read. 

Between the lines: Both advertising campaigns appear to mostly target older populations. Axios has previously reported that many of Trump's Facebook ads use nativist language and target seniors.

Be smart: For the Democrats, messaging is all about owning your policy priorities, or your attack plan.

  • Not listed are ads targeted to messaging around the debates. Debates, along with immigration, are often cited in ads, intended to boost fundraising efforts before, during and right after the events.

The big picture: Digital ad campaigns, especially on Facebook, are often used this early in the cycle to build lists and to raise small-dollar fundraising. Hyper-targeting a message to reach a specific audience is often the most effective way to solicit engagement.

Go deeper: Another Trump Facebook election

Go deeper

Trump Facebook ads warning of immigrant "invasion" posted 2,200 times

President Trump speaks with reporters at the White House. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump has run approximately 2,200 Facebook advertisements warning of an "invasion" at the southern border, according to CNN analysis of the social media giant's political ad archive.

Why it matters: A study by Axios found last month that Trump is spending millions of dollars on Facebook ads, focusing on immigration as a key reelection strategy. However, his divisive rhetoric is being scrutinized amid reports that the suspected El Paso gunman spoke of an "invasion" in an online post just before the shooting massacre, CNN notes.

Go deeperArrowAug 7, 2019

2020 candidates pouring cash into targeting the Rust Belt on Facebook

Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive 2020 Campaign Tracker; Note: Data from March 30 to July 27; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

2020 candidates are pouring more into ads targeting Rust Belt states than some of the other early primary states, according to Facebook data pulled from Bully Pulpit Interactive.

Be smart: The data also shows most campaigns have a 50-state targeting strategy online. This is likely a reflection of candidates' push to develop broad-based support in order to hit the requirements necessary to qualify for the next round of Democratic primary debates in September.

Go deeperArrowAug 6, 2019

AOC: Trump's immigration policies are really about ethnicity and racism

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said at a New York City town hall Saturday that President Trump's "go back" tweets targeting her and 3 other Democratic congresswomen of color show his hardline immigration policies are really about racism.

Once you start telling American citizens to quote 'go back to your own countries,' this tells you that this president's policies are not about immigration, it's about ethnicity and racism."

Why it matters: Trump's associates told Axios' Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen that race-baiting is central to his 2020 strategy. Per Axios' Sara Fischer, much of Trump's Facebook spending is focused heavily on immigration messaging, as he targets older, white voters and Latino voters.

The big picture: During her town hall, broadcast on The National Desk's Facebook page, Ocasio-Cortez rejected Trump's claim that he tried to quiet a "send her back" chant directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) during a North Carolina campaign rally on Wednesday.

"Roll back the tape. ... He relished it. He took it in and he's doing this intentionally."

Go deeper: A tough time to be a Trump supporter

Keep ReadingArrowJul 21, 2019