Trump is maintaining his digital lead in the 2020 campaign – Axios
- It’s especially cost-effective on Facebook, because there, the more an ad proves “engaging” — i.e., hot, attention-grabbing, clicky — the cheaper it is.
- It’s a system made for Trump’s style.
The big picture: This conflict, as we’ve been reporting, is unfolding on platforms that have given politicians a nearly unlimited free pass to tell lies.
- In the last 90 days, Facebook reports say, Trump’s campaign has spent approximately $5.3 million on Facebook ads. That’s less than the $5.7 million spent by one Democratic candidate, Tom Steyer.
- Biden may have retreated from the digital field, at least for now, but his rivals have not.
Between the lines: What differentiates the parties is less dollar totals than tactics.
- Trump’s messages are effective at grabbing attention, and his team — led by a campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who was the Trump digital lead in 2016 — relentlessly experiments and tests messages.
- As is the norm with incumbents, Trump can focus his message on Democratic rivals (and fighting impeachment) while his challengers are still competing to determine who will be the party’s nominee.
- Some Democrats have brought digital ad buying and strategy in-house to cut costs. That could make it harder for them to tap the kind of up-to-date thinking and savvy agencies can offer.
- Both sides have invested in texting infrastructure. But so far, Republicans have the edge in using text messages for fundraising and messaging.
- ActBlue, a payment processing system used by most of the major Democratic presidential candidates, has pioneered small-dollar donations and donation tracking since 2016.
- WinRed, the Republicans’ rival system, only launched in July.
Our thought bubble: It’s hard to envision any candidate winning the 2020 race without a top-notch strategy for digital and social media.
What’s next: CEO Mark Zuckerberg will talk about Facebook’s role in the 2016 and 2020 elections on an interview with NBC News‘ Lester Holt this evening.