I missed this when it was published a few days back, but it’s worth having a look at: Democrats (or at least the ones captured by this study) spent a combined $2.5m on promoted tweets between June 2018-January 2019. The biggest spender was Beto O’Rourke, with a grand total of $925,900 spent on Twitter alone:
Equipped with more money than anyone else, it’s not surprising O’Rourke was the top spender overall. But even with all that cash on hand, O’Rourke used Twitter to raise even more money for his record-breaking Senate campaign in Texas. O’Rourke splurged on a handful of ads, spending at least $57,100 and generating 4.1 million impressions on a promoted tweet urging supporters to chip in after news of new spending from a pro-Ted Cruz super PAC.
The Center for Responsive Politics research discusses the difficulty in ascertaining the source of funding. Around $50k was spent by groups not disclosing their origins.
Absent from the Twitter spenders list was Donald Trump, who didn’t spend a penny. But then, with 50 million followers, and a media waiting on every tweet, he hardly needs to.
Facebook, however, is a different story for the President. He has reportedly spent at least $8m on the site since records began in May.
Here’s the Center on the fuller picture of digital spending in US politics:
The amount of digital ad spending reported to the FEC has increased in recent years. A conservative calculation of spending on digital services reported to the FEC by House candidates exceeded $33.3 million in the 2018 election cycle, more than twice the $16.2 million spent in the 2016 election cycle. The increase in digital spending continues a growing trend, rising from $12.7 million in 2014 and just $5.9 million in 2012. Altogether, candidates running for federal office spent more than $71.9 million during the 2018 election cycle, with $29.8 million by Senate candidates and $8.8 million by presidential candidates.
Democrats have spent substantially more than Republicans on digital services in the 2018 election cycle, as reported to FEC. However, Republicans outspent Democrats on digital in the three prior election cycles.