President Trump spent $12.5 million on Facebook advertising during the past 15 months, making him the top political advertiser despite his frequent attacks on the platform for bias.
Although spending on the site is otherwise dominated by liberal causes, the Trump 2020 campaign generated as many as 2.8 billion ad impressions, enough for every American to see 12 paid-for adverts, according to analysis by CompariTech of Facebook’s own data.
The numbers give an insight into the Trump campaign’s approach to reelection, with Facebook money focused on the crucial swing state of Florida, as well as the older male voters who propelled him to power in 2016.
Paul Bischoff, the report’s author, said: “Florida ranked number one for Trump in ad spend, even though it wasn’t in the top 10 for any other conservative cause. He was also the only major political advertiser to heavily target Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana — deeply red states.
“Other conservative advertisers focused on Iowa, Texas, and New Mexico.”
Yet Facebook has been a frequent target for Trump, who routinely accuses various social media platforms of bias against conservatives.
In May he delivered a Twitter tirade when it emerged that Facebook had banned Alex Jones and his Infowars website along with right-wing personalities such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer.
“This is the United States of America — and we have what’s known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH,” he wrote.
This week he attacked plans by the internet giant to launch its own cryptocurrency.
“Facebook Libra’s ‘virtual currency’ will have little standing or dependability,” he said, adding that the company needed a banking charter if it wanted to operate as a bank.
Even so, Trump remains way ahead of liberal causes or Democratic contenders in his spending on the site.
The data show Facebook itself is the second-biggest spender, with its voter registration campaign at nearly $11 million, followed by Beto O’Rourke at $8.1 million, largely the legacy of his 2018 Senate campaign.
Kamala Harris spent $2.5 million during the period and Joe Biden just $1.3 million.
In all, liberal causes spent $66.5 million, more than double that of conservative advertisers.
Bischoff said Trump came out on top because of the large number of Democratic candidates.
“Whereas Democratic ad spend is spread across more than a dozen candidates, all of the Republican ad spend, as far as the presidential election is concerned, goes to Trump,” he said.
Trump was also the only political entity targeting more men than women, with the breakdown of impressions skewing approximately 60% men to 40% women.
His campaign also targeted more Facebook users aged 25 to 54 than any other leading political advertiser, even with his focus on older males.
“Targeting Facebook ads toward his supporters is likely the best move for the sitting president, despite voting demographics changing,” concluded the report.
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