2020 Democrats spend over $100 in Facebook ads to get each $1 donation, driving ad prices through the roof

Even the candidates that have positioned themselves as being anti-Facebook are spending big on the platform.


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Facebook is enjoying an upsurge in profits from its already massive ad business as Democrats vying for a presidential nomination in next year's US elections are spending big.

The Wall Street Journal writes about this – explaining that the rush to buy ads on Facebook came in the hope of securing the required number of donors before the Wednesday deadline.

Those attracting less than 130,000 donors won't be able to participate in upcoming Democratic debates. The Democratic National Committee's “donor threshold” requirement, and Facebook's auction-driven ad system are now resulting in presidential hopeful sometimes spending more than $100 just to secure a one-dollar donation.

Candidates that have positioned themselves as being anti-Facebook are giving Facebook millions of dollars.

One consequence of the current ad-buying frenzy and the sharply rising prices is that candidates attempting to secure the Democratic Party nomination are cannibalizing groups trying to use Facebook to reach the same electorate.

For example, the AAPI Victory Fund, targeting Asian-American voters on the platform, has had to widen the focus, and lessen the effect of its advertising in order pay less for ads, after the price of its email-acquisition campaigns went from $5-9 to $279 per one email.

And the DNC rules also mean that while prices on Facebook are rising for Democrats – according to Reid Vineis, Republicans have gained “a competitive advantage – because the GOP doesn't have a competitive presidential primary to drive up prices.”

“We're not seeing it on our side,” said Vineis, VP of Majority Strategies, a conservative online marketing firm.

Overall, spending on online political ads year-on-year has increased by 24 percent as of mid-August, when it stood at $92 million.

Other than making a lot of money from the election campaign, Facebook, plagued by accusations that it had allowed its platform to be used to influence the last US presidential election, is now also promising transparency around political advertising, and “election integrity.”

An update to the social media giant's guidelines announced on Wednesday said that Facebook will start asking government ID such as tax ID number, that must be provided by those who want to run ad campaigns relating to elections, politics, “or big social issues like guns and immigration,” AP reports. (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebook-tighten-rules-about-political-advertising-2019-08-28)”

However, “small grassroots groups and local politicians” with no tax ID number will still be able to advertise by providing phone numbers and email addresses.

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Didi Rankovic

Didi Rankovich is an experienced online journalist, editor, and translator, with a career spanning over ten years writing for major a English-language website in Serbia, and previously working as translator for international organizations and peacekeepers in the Balkans. Rankovich is passionate about free and open source tech and is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net, focusing on lead stories. [email protected]
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