Digital Ads—Pre-Primary and Primary Facebook (Jan. 2019-)

Campaigns and earlier pre-campaign organizations have many online advertising options including search, display, and pre-roll video ads, ads on Facebook, and promoted Tweets.  Groups have various objectives for these paid communications such as persuading or mobilizing voters, driving traffic to their websites, building email lists and fundraising.  Digital ads can be targeted with considerable specificity. 

This section highlights Facebook ads.  As of Sept. 11, 2019 Democratic presidential campaigns have spent more than $30 million and the Trump campaign more than $17 million on Facebook ads (see table below).  Typically a campaign will produce many variations of an ad to test which do best.  One can see from the examples below that the call to action varies: buy tickets, learn more, sign up, donate now, learn more, shop now.  A campaign can run the same ad over an extended period of time at the risk of it becoming stale, or it can produce a stream of new designs. 

"To provide more transparency into advertising," Facebook now shows ads the campaigns are running.  One can access these directly from the candidates' Facebook pages in the Page Transparency section, or from Facebook's Ad Library page.  These archives are a bit unwieldy as they contain many ads with minor variations, but they do give a sense of the volume and themes of the advertising.  For spending see Facebook's Ad Archive Report page, and the section "This week's spending by advertiser."

See also: Blog ads


Trump Make America Great Again Committee
Trump Make America Great Again Committee (Team Trump)

Bennet for America


Biden for President

Cory 2020

Bullock for President

Pete for America

Julián for the Future

Friends of John Delaney

Tulsi Now

Gillibrand 2020

Kamala Harris for the People

Hickenlooper 2020

Inslee for America

Amy for America

Wayne for America

Seth Moulton for America

Ojeda for President

Beto for America

Tim Ryan for America 

Bernie 2020

Joe Sestak for President

Tom Steyer 2020

Swalwell for America

Warren for President

Marianne for America

Friends of Andrew Yang

      ______

Examples of Facebook Ads from the Pre-Primary Period
Ads from Jan.-Apr. 2019 and mostly from day of launch or soon thereafter. 














































       

Trump Leads Spending on FB Ads, While Steyer, Sanders Top Democrats
(Sept. 11, 2019)  It is difficult to make a straight comparison, since the candidates launched their campaigns at different dates, but one can see that the Trump campaign is making a huge investment in Facebook ads, over $17 million thus far.  Total spending by the Democratic campaigns exceeds that number, and by Sept. 11, eleven of the Democratic campaigns had invested more than $1 million in Facebook ads:

Top 5 Democrats
through 9/11: Steyer (
$4,449,470), Sanders ($3,134,395), Gillibrand ($2,790,029), Buttigieg ($2,787,215), Warren ($2,510,114).  Others at more than $1 million: Biden ($2,277,474), Booker ($2,268,493), Klobuchar ($1,867,037), Harris ($1,758,686), Castro ($1,721,545), Yang ($1,279,382).

through 7/20: Sanders (
$1,890,610), Biden ($1,882,241), Warren ($1,772,779), Gillibrand ($1,708,699), Booker ($1,498,844).  Others at more than $1 million: Castro ($1,158,033), Yang ($1,062,559), Buttigieg ($1,018,018).

through 5/18: Warren (
$1,236,727), Harris ($1,210,202), Biden ($1,099,472), Yang ($851,106), Sanders ($850,061).

through 3/30: Warren ($637,163), Klobuchar ($551,434), Sanders ($550,252), Harris ($535,099), Booker ($361,868).

through 2/23: Warren ($308,056), Harris ($306,366), Sanders ($270,767), Booker ($240,955), Gillibrand ($176,521).


       Summary of Spending by Presidential Campaigns on Facebook Ads
 
         This chart uses a narrow definition of spending that does not include re-election committees, PACs or ads without disclaimers.
         see notes below


Committee [launch date]
Spending




 
from May 2018* to...
Feb. 23, 2019
Mar. 30, 2019
May 18, 2019
July 20, 2019
Sept. 11, 2019

Bennet for America  [05/02/19]


$180,921
$449,715
$877,963

Biden for President  [04/25/19]


$1,099,472
$1,882,241
$2,277,474

Cory 2020  [02/01/19] $240,955
$361,868
$491,498
$1,498,844
$2,268,493

Bullock for President  [05/14/19]


$58,577
$112,113
$242,636

Pete for America (and expl.comm.)  [01/23/19] -
$15,666
$255,060
$1,018,018
$2,787,215

Julián for the Future (and expl.comm.)  [12/12/18] -
$41,541
$396,061
$1,158,033
$1,721,545

de Blasio 2020  [05/16/19]


$33,864
$25,258
$105,873

Friends of John Delaney  [07/28/17] $27,400
$126,060
$151,004
$186,954
$220,269

Tulsi Now  [01/11/19] $79,758
$66,858
$200,983
$229,664
$484,463

Gillibrand 2020 (and expl. comm.)  [01/15/19]
$176,521
$311,021
$497,041
$1,708,699 $2,790,029

Kamala Harris for the People  [01/21/19] $306,366
$535,099
$1,210,202
$1,399,249
$1,758,686

Hickenlooper 2020  [03/01/19]
$51,434
$108,293
$180,901
$202,149

Inslee for America  [03/01/19]
$138,050
$529,428
$726,431
$894,423

Amy for America  [02/10/19] $75,028
$551,434
$806,989
$1,489,954
$1,867,037

Seth Moulton for America  [04/22/19]


$37,217
$205,490
$208,719

Ojeda for President  -
-
-
-
-

Beto for America  [03/01/19]
$296,083
$545,043
$708,576
$881,702

Tim Ryan for America  [03/01/19]

$31,089
$40,769
$56,337

Bernie 2020  [02/19/19] $270,767
$550,252
$850,061
$1,890,610
$3,134,395

Joe Sestak for President  [06/22/19]



$121
$641

Tom Steyer 2020  [07/09/19]



$420,143
$4,449,470

Swalwell for America  [04/08/19]

$9,831
$109,195
$109,195

Warren for President (and expl. comm.)  [12/31/18]
$308,056
$637,163
$1,236,727
$1,772,779
$2,510,114

Marianne Williamson for Pres. (and expl. comm.)
-
$45,085
$309,351
$485,170
$991,537

Friends of Andrew Yang  [02/02/18]
$15,536
$185,564
$851,106
$1,062,559
$1,279,382








Trump Make America Great Again Committee $6,276,373
$6,908,138
$7,708,429
$10,329,682
$11,844,082

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. $3,639,849
$3,906,832
$4,165,414
$5,125,324
$5,603,244

Weld 2020 Presidential Campaign Committee
(and expl. comm.)
missing
$5,639

$25,500
$25,510


*May 2018 is when the archive started. The chart is thus missing some spending by Trump and by early announcers Delaney and Yang.
Bennet does not include $250,599 by Bennet for Colorado.
Biden does not include $45,702 by American Possibilities PAC/American Possibilities.
Booker does not include $492,137 by Cory Booker for Senate.
Gillibrand does not include $78,929 w/o a disclaimer and $857,769 by Gillibrand for Senate.
Harris does not include $2,170 w/o a disclaimer and $1,256,425 by Kamala Harris for Senate.
Hickenlooper does not include $152,804 by GiddyUp PAC.
Klobuchar does not include $2,087 w/o a disclaimer and $67,698 by Klobuchar for Minnesota.
Moulton does not includ $1,347 w/o a disclaimer and $84,162 by Seth Moulton for Congress.
O'Rourke does not include $30,578 w/o disclaimer and $8.2 million by Beto for Texas.
Ryan does not include $25,857 by Tim Ryan for Congress.
Sanders does not include $238,085 by Friendes of Bernie Sanders.
Steyer does not include $5,619 w/o a disclaimer, $63,834 by Tom Steyer, and $4,429,705 by Need to Impeach.
Swalwell does not include $886 w/o a disclaimer and $38,048 by Swalwell for Congress.
Warren does not include $7,332 w/o a disclaimer and $781,272 by Elizabeth for MA.
Trump does not include $215,585 w/o a disclaimer.

de Blasio May 18, 2019 figure likely includes PAC.