It’s no surprise that presidential elections spend more on advertising where there are more convincing voters, especially in Pennsylvania and Florida.
“Florida and Pennsylvania are the biggest awards for both candidates, and must-have awards for both Trump and Biden,” said Nathan Gonzalez, a non-partisan “inside election” editor and CNN contributor. “It’s difficult to replace 29-20 votes with other states.”
What these 10 battlefield nations have in common is that Trump won all but one of them in 2016.
This year’s stadium is hard to recognize compared to 2016, when Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton spent about $52,000 on advertising in Georgia. This year, Trump has spent about $9.4 million so far, while Biden has spent about $926,000.
In 2016, neither Trump nor Clinton paid for advertising in Minnesota. Until this year, Trump spent $2.5 million and Biden spent $795,000.
And after Clinton lost Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin’s “Rust Belt” states, Biden’s advertising wallet for these three states, this time around, was much wider. To date, Biden has spent $44 million in Pennsylvania, $27 million in Michigan, and $26.1 million in Wisconsin.
Another difference from 2016 is that Democrats are spending significantly less on advertising in Ohio.
“The Democrats won’t come back to Trump this year because Ohio swung heavily toward Trump in 2016,” Gonzalez said. “But that doesn’t mean they won’t try.”
Looking at the rest of the country, Trump outperformed his rivals in national advertising, red states and even blue states. Aside from the battlefield, in the states that voted for Trump in 2016, Biden and his affiliate PAC were significantly less aggressive, spending $5.1 million versus Trump’s $18.7 million.
But that’s not necessarily the case because I think the Biden campaign can’t compete in Trumpland. Much of this expenditure was spent on digital advertising, which is cheaper than TV and radio advertising.
As of August 31, Trump and Biden spent more than $228 million combined on digital advertising on Facebook and Google, about $1 million more than local broadcast TV spending, and more than four times more than local cable advertising spending.
Television and radio spending is primarily used to persuade voters, but digital ads are often used to appeal to primary advocates for donations and build a list of voters (think Facebook ads asking for “add names”).
“When it comes to online advertising for national campaigns, targeting is less revealing than the advertising itself,” said political engineer Eric Wilson, who led the digital team for Senator Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign.
In a non-competitive state, online advertising usually emphasizes e-mail listing and fundraising. Solid blue California, for example, is among the top 10 states with the most ad spending overall, with wealthy donors on either side. In highly competitive states, there is a greater focus on identifying and eliminating voters and volunteers.
It’s another type of campaign, but it’s noteworthy that the $152.9 million that Trump and his affiliate PAC spend on digital advertising is more than twice as much as Biden’s digital advertising purchases.
“I was amazed at how little the Biden campaign invested in online advertising,” Wilson said. Wilson added that as the incumbent president, Trump dominates TV news coverage, which means that he doesn’t have to pay for increased exposure to TV ads like Biden.
Trump’s online advertising benefits may have something to do with your target audience.
“(Trump’s) advocates are on Facebook, the demographics of Facebook people are well suited to their target audience, and Facebook affordances are all suitable for the strategic use of the platform,” said Kathleen Siuls, associate professor of political science. . Communication at Louisiana State University. “Also, Facebook ads are generally less researched and can be part of your strategy as they do not have the same rules or norms as TV ads.”
In the ten states on the battlefield, most of advertising spending was spent on television and radio. In Pennsylvania and Florida, the gap between Biden and Trump’s broadcast and digital advertising spending is dramatic. In Pennsylvania, Trump spent $29.6 million on TV/radio and $3.6 million on digital. Biden spent $3.91 million on TV/Radio and $4.9 million on digital.
And in Florida, Trump spent $26.5 million on TV/Radio and $7 million on digital. Biden spent $34.6 million on TV/radio and $7.4 million on digital.
It makes sense to spend the most on convincing TV commercials in states with the most convincing voters. The fact that TV and radio ads are more expensive may be a bank-breaking point in states like Pennsylvania and Florida.
“Campaigns tend to take an arms race against advertising,” said Searles. Psychologically speaking, some campaigns believe a lot in the strengths of the state project, which must be successful.
It doesn’t always really work. Clinton spent $64 million (more than twice Trump’s) on advertising in Florida in 2016, and Sunshine State was still in the red.