According to data from the Federal Elections Commission, Facebook’s share of online political ads is quickly catching up to Google.
Google has been in the political ad game for quite some time (twice as long as Facebook), but the FEC found that the ratio of money spent on Google versus that on Facebook was only 3:2.
While the data does not include the most recent round of primaries nor ads purchased through strategists, many consultants are observing the same trend.
techPresident’s Nick Judd has more:
It’s early yet in the campaign cycle. We’re not even all the way through primary season, and most money is usually spent in the run-up to the general election, so the dollars on the table already are just a small proportion of what will be spent by the end of the year. But by my tally, House Democratic candidates who buy their ads direct have placed 73 percent of their advertising dollars — about $18,000 — with Facebook. House Republican candidates placed 43 percent of their direct-spent advertising dollars — about $38,000 — by comparison. In contrast, Democrats running for Senate who buy their online ads direct spent nearly all of their money on Google advertising, while Republicans running for Senate placed 66 percent of their direct-buy dollars with Facebook. So far — among expenditures that I could track, which, again, is just a sliver of the millions already spent — Democrats have directly paid $140,400 to Google and Facebook so far, and Republicans have directly paid about $230,000.
This could be explained by a function of what each service is best for.
Andrew Bleeker, director of new media at AKPD, pointed out that Facebook’s ad targeting and Google’s ad targeting are good at different things.
Facebook is built around showing ads to people with certain qualities: All the Democrats in Michigan, for example, or everyone who says they live in Brooklyn and are fans of Barack Obama. Google’s search ad targeting is primarily for placing ads next to keyword search results, so it’s best for finding people who are looking for something specific. One network is for reaching people who are looking for you, and the other network is for looking for people to reach.
Whatever the reason, the gap is narrowing.