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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