Trump has spent an estimated $12.5 million so far on Facebook ads.
If you live in Florida and you’re a middle-aged man, there’s a good chance President Donald Trump is spending a lot of money to get your attention.
Following heavy criticism after Facebook allowed Russia to buy targeted ads during the 2016 election, the company changed its transparency policies
in 2018, and now a new report using this publicly available data reveals that Trump’s re-election campaign is very concerned about keeping Florida red.
The new report, compiled by British online security company Comparitech,
looked at data from the Facebook Ad Library
between March 2018 and June 2019, and discovered that out of the top 25 political pages on Facebook, Trump is by far the biggest spender, and Florida makes up the bulk of his spending.
According to the report, Trump has spent an estimated $12.5 million so far between his Make America Great Again Committee and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
For comparison's sake, this digital spending has absolutely dwarfed his Democrat rivals, with Beto O’Rourke notching the second-highest spending on Facebook for a candidate with $8.1 million. Runners-up include Kamala Harris with $2.5 million and Joe Biden with just $1.3 million.
It’s important to remember that these ads are targeted at potential voters with very specific datasets you give up as a Facebook user, an issue that came to light in 2017 after it was discovered the Trump campaign paid $5.9 million to the scandal-ridden data company Cambridge Analytica,
which we now know used harvested raw data from up to 87 million Facebook profiles.
For Trump, targeting Facebook profiles of middle-aged men in Florida is apparently key. So far this year, Trump has targeted more Facebook users between the ages 25 and 54 than any other candidate or political cause, says the report. Interestingly, Trump’s page is the only one that has targeted more men than women with (59.8% of the users), and the only one to allocate less than 10% of his advertising budget on people under 25.
The report also points out that Trump has placed an estimated 219,000 ads in the last year, which is 80,000 more than the top 25 advertisers combined, a list that includes pages like Tom Steyer, Concealed Online, the National Republican Congressional Committee, Planned Parenthood, and MoveOn.org.
It’s estimated that these Trump ads have accumulated between 895 million and 2.8 billion impressions, and if these ads were evenly distributed, the report says, “then every American on Facebook saw approximately four and 12 paid ads for President Donald Trump during that time period.”
“As the most populous swing state,
Florida will be the deciding factor in Trump’s reelection in 2020.
The president has not only directed the majority of his ads toward Floridians, but he has also spent a significant amount of time there,” says the report.
This is true. Since being elected to office two and a half years ago, Trump has made 34 trips to the Sunshine State, according to a report from last June
. These stops include visits to his private golf courses, political rallies, and his Palm Beach “Winter White House” resort, Mar-A-Lago.
On top of this, last May it was announced that his campaign head Brad Parscale literally moved to Florida and spoke candidly about the use of “micro-targeting” on Facebook in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
“Our advertising and direct (get out the vote) targets are much more individualized, regardless of where you live,” said Pascale, speaking about Facebook. “Florida will always be a swing state, I think as long as I’m alive. But, I think this is Trump country, and I think is a place where he’s very strong, and I think the fight is going to be past that step. And I think right now that’s what the numbers prove.”
Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.