(NEW YORK) — Ahead of Super Tuesday, Mike Bloomberg has outspent all his opponents on Facebook, including President Donald Trump, by millions of dollars, pushing out tens of thousands of unique advertisements in an unprecedented social media barrage.
According to Facebook’s Political Ad database, Bloomberg has so far spent more than $8 million on over 31,000 Facebook advertisements, paid for by Mike Bloomberg 2020 Inc. — a disclaimer that appears with 25 different political groups’ sponsored ads on the platform. Many of those groups have spent additional funds on Bloomberg’s behalf, including Team Mike 2020 and California For Mike, which together spent nearly $70,500 on advertisements just last week.
Since Jan. 1, 2019, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has spent $10.8 million on Facebook advertisements — but that amount has been dwarfed by Bloomberg, who since Jan. 1, 2020, has spent $60 million on the platform, mostly in just the last two months.
Earlier this year, ahead of the Iowa caucus, Facebook announced its plan to improve political advertisement transparency through the existing Facebook Ad Library, a searchable public archive created by the platform in an effort to combat false or misleading sponsored content on Facebook and Instagram. The tool provides a detailed account of each candidate’s paid-presence on the platform — but while the data shows how a specific advertisement may be targeting based on gender and age, it doesn’t provide key data such as location or Facebook preferences, which reveals just how micro-targeted these paid interactions can be.
Bloomberg’s use of 31,000 different advertisements suggests that his campaign is doing extensive micro-targeting, employing a large number of messages targeting specific demographics. In contrast, prior to suspending her presidential bid on Monday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar in the last week pushed out only 131 different Facebook advertisements, suggesting a much smaller degree of micro-targeting.
All this targeting, of course, comes at a cost.
In November 2017 Facebook executives told the House Intel Committee that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spent a combined $81 million on Facebook advertisements during the entire 2016 presidential election.
Bloomberg’s spending to this point is so high that, on his own, he is approaching that figure in the current campaign — and it’s only March.
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