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Super Tuesday FB Analysis

Super Tuesday FB Analysis

Candidate Spending Overview


Bloomberg Facebook Ad Blitz:  Bloomberg accounts for 85% of the $21,733,613 dollars spent by Democratic candidates on Facebook ads over the thirty days we tracked spending from January 25-February 23.


Sanders overtook Steyer in Super Tuesday spending coming in as the second largest spender. For context, Steyer outspent Sanders in overall Q4 FB ad spending $10,092,781 to $2,552,311.  Sanders has spent $1.6M in Super Tuesday states to Steyer’s $1.2M over the thirty day period. (Steyer, however, has spent an additional $672K in South Carolina during this time compared to Sanders’ $27K in the state).


Biden Broke or Surging Back? It would appear that Biden is lacking funding when looking at his Facebook spending over the last 30 days in Super Tuesday states as he doesn’t appear in the top 10 in spending in any of the Super Tuesday states. (He doesn’t crack the top 10 in spending in the crucial states of CA and TX when looking at the last 7 days too.) However, just late yesterday Politico reported that his PAC saw a surge of donors after the latest debate and is focusing its efforts on FB ads in the states with large African American voting populations in NC, VA, AR, AL and TN.


Klobuchar: Can Klobuchar compete on Super Tuesday when she is also not registering in the top 10 in Facebook ad spending in any of the Super Tuesday states?


Although Buttigieg and Warren are spending in Super Tuesday states, they are being far outspent by Bloomberg, Sanders and Steyer, and do not crack the top ten in spending in the key states of TX, VA, and NC, and Warren isn’t in the Top 10 in CA.

Is 2020 the OK Boomer Election?

Is 2020 the OK Boomer Election?

Is 2020 the “OK Boomer” Democratic Primary, like “Soccer Moms” was to the 1996 Election?


The battle for the Democratic Primary (and arguably the soul of the Democratic party) seems to be lining up along generational lines based on the latest @quinnipiacpoll and Booster's analysis of Q4 Facebook ad spending.  It appears that Boomers may tip the scale for Biden whereas Millennials and Gen Z could decide whether Sanders or Warren (and arguably Yang and Bloomberg) emerges as the Democratic candidate as 37% of the electorate are Millennials and Gen Z according to Axios.

The meme “OK Boomer” broke out in 2019 by Gen Z to mock baby boomers and those who are seen as “old-fashioned.”  The implication is that Boomers are “out of touch” with today’s reality. The “old” ways of seeing the world no longer apply.



HawkEyes on Iowa (February 3)

Democrats are watching Iowa like a Hawk, as Iowa was in the top two in spending of most every Democratic candidate, except Steyer.  Buttigieg is looking to connect with his fellow Midwesterns to break through with a high finish as he is the #1 spender in the state.  Steyer was the second largest spender in Iowa even though he spent more money in 3 other states. Yang spent 56% of his budget in Iowa while three other candidates spent over 10% of their budget (Buttigieg 18%, Biden 16%, and Klobuchar 13%).  The only candidates not spending in Iowa are Gabbard and Bloomberg, although Bennett has shifted his spending from Iowa and is now exclusively spending in NH.



Iowa continues to generate much more FB ad spending compared to NH with Iowa generating 5.18% of the overall spend compared to 1.73% for NH.


A few candidates are spending over 60% of their budget against Millennials and Gen Z as they represent 37% of the electorate. Who will win with these demographics, and how much impact will they have in Iowa and NH?


Sanders ramped up his FB ad spending by 86% from the previous week to maximize Q4 donations.


Sanders seems to be setting his sights on winning Washington on March 10th based on his spending.


Bloomberg was the #1 spender in 13 of 14 Super Tuesday states (Sanders spent the most in VT). How much will  this impact results on Super Tuesday?

Trump's ads suggest his approval ratings are "THROUGH THE ROOF" and "The Border Wall is being finished" arguably using alternative facts in his advertising a week before he shared on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show that "we wouldn't be able to get the truth out," without Facebook.



Spending Level Trends

Overall FB spending is way up (55% from last week, $3.9M) this week as Bloomberg doubles his spending and Steyer increases his spending to previous levels from earlier in the year.

Bloomberg’s spending increased 82% jumping to $1.4M as he continues to self fund his campaign. He is now using this as a FB ad theme suggesting “Bloomberg has never taken a dime from special interests.”

Steyer increased his spending 404% ($234K to $1.182M) with his ads being a direct call to action to help get him into the January debate and meet the 225K donor threshold.

Trump had a slight decrease in spending ($511,566 from $652K) possibly reflecting the fact that the impeachment hearings in the House came to a close during this reporting period as his ads previously were a call to action to rally around his defense.

Sanders spending remained largely flat (-4%) coming in as the 4th largest spender switching places with Warren this week who came in 5th this week as she spent -15% less this week. Buttigieg’s spending was up slightly (+20%) coming in as the 6th largest spender, with Biden coming in 7th as he increased his spending +16%, spending over $100K.

Klobuchar jumped up two spots from 10 to 8 as she increased her spending +91% from 23K to 44K.

Yang spending is down -46% from $65K to $35K.



Candidate Spending Down: Spending is down -14% ($2.9M to $2.5M this week) from last week largely driven by Bloomberg (-17%) and Trump (-23%) spending less, however, most candidates decreased spending or remained flat.  Steyer was the notable exception as he increased his spending +114% spending $234,399, although far less than his spending over the summer and fall. 

Cause for Concern?

Gabbard dropped her spending -62% from $66,476 to $25,068.

Booker dropped his spending -80% from $80,909 to $16,046.

Williamson dropped her spending -60% from $19,960 to $7,926.

Castro only spent $3,374 this week after spending $5,869 last week.

Bennett, Delaney and Patrick spent $0 this week.



Top Takes

Candidate Spending Up:  Every candidate, but Steyer and Bloomberg increased Facebook Ad spending this week. Bloomberg spent -22% less, but was still the largest spender with $936,085.

Who’s In On Iowa? Iowa was the state Buttigieg (22%), Biden (30%), Booker (34%) and Yang (72%) spent the highest percentage of their budget in this week.

Bloomberg’s Super Spending on Super Tuesday: Bloomberg is by far the largest spender in every Super Tuesday state.  His spending indicates he hopes to build momentum in NV and SC leading into Super Tuesday too as he’s the 3rd largest spender in SC and 1st in NV. He spent $0 in IA and NH. 

Trump “Schiff’s” His Spending:  Trump increased his spending during the impeachment hearings by +281% coming in #2 in spending with $848,236.  His spending largely focuses on rallying his supporters to “read the transcripts” and defend against the impeachment using an image of Adam Schiff in his ads. 

Steyer’s Spending Slump: Did Steyer’s spending decrease once he qualified for the debate on 12/3?  Steyer dropped spending -85% from $750,962 to $109,441 this week coming in as the 6th largest spender after many weeks of being the largest spender in the field.  

Steyer’s Early State Strategy: The four early voting states received a high percentage of Steyer’s spending: SC (14%), NV (8%), IA (8%) and NH (5%), as well as the larger Super Tuesday states of CA (11%) and TX (8%).

Sander’s Early State Spending? He is spending 17% of his budget in NV, while only spending 1.79% in NH, 1.38% in IA and .36% in SC.

Klobuchar’s Strategy? Klobuchar is spending in 17 states and IA is the only state of the first four voting where she is spending FB ads in, representing 12% of her spending. Her state spending strategy suggests she is using FB ads primarily as a fundraising versus a persuasion platform at this stage.

Going to California:  CA is once again the state with the largest FB ad spend, representing 14% of all spending, suggesting it’s a state that both generates donations, as well as candidates competing for the large amount of potential delegates it can deliver on Super Tuesday.

SC Replaces IA for Top Spot in Early State Spending:  SC generated 5.80% of the spend vs IA’s 5.69% (a statistical dead heat) after weeks of IA having the largest FB spend of the early states.  This may be reflective of the fact that Gabbard and Bloomberg are spending in SC, and not in Iowa.

Buttigieg spending once again goes north of 100K ($119,915), but still represents a slowing of Facebook spending outside of his $96,383 last week. The previous weeks were $203K, $182K and $284K respectively.

Elizabeth Leapfrogs Sanders to come in #3.  Warren increased her spending +62% from $192,426 to $312,006 surpassing Sanders’ Facebook spending.

Biden bumped up his spending significantly +275% from $25,958 to $97,489, although he still is only the 7th largest spender.

Gabbard spent 92% of her budget in SC (65%) and NH (27%) which led to her coming in as the largest spender in SC and second largest in NH.

Booker spent 34% of his budget in Iowa and 30% in SC.

Trump’s 50 State Strategy? Trump spent money on Facebook ads in all 50 states and the District of Columbia this week.

Trump continues to represent over 50% of Facebook ad spending in the key swing states of FL, OH, PA, MI and WI as Democratic candidates primarily focus on the early four states and Super Tuesday.

Castro Comeback? After spending less than $100 last week, Castro’s spending jumped to $5,869, only exceeding Bennett in spending. 

It’s a First: Bloomberg is Hiring:  For the first time this cycle, we’re seeing a candidate run ads for staff as Bloomberg is running ads seeking to hire Field Organizers who get “great pay and benefits.”



Top Takes

Bloomberg Breaks the Bank (not for him of course...): As forecasted in last week’s report, Bloomberg increased his spending significantly in conjunction with his $38M TV spend from 11/25-12/2. Although Bloomberg was the leading spender on Facebook ads this week, it only represented 3% of his TV spend. His spending increased 280% from last week’s spend of $316,215. 

Steyer and Trump Slump : Steyer has typically been the #1 social spender since he joined the race with a few exceptions (e.g., Trump spent $1.5M the week of the whistleblower report), and dropped to 2nd this week. His spending dropped considerably from $1.23M to $750K, a -39% drop. 

Trump drops to 4th after Bloomberg, Steyer and Sanders, dropping his spending -50% this week from $449,551 to $222,474. 

Sanders Soaring: Sanders spending increased for the 4th week in a row +8% to $238,980 from $220,248 last week coming in 3rd, $144,363 the week before (11/11-11/17) and $64,196 the week before that (11/3-11/11). 

2020 PRESIDENTIAL SOCIAL SPEND TRACKER (Week of 11/25 - 12/1) 

Mayor Pete’s (Spending) Petering? Buttigieg spending drops below $100,000 ($96,383) after weeks of spending $203K, $182K and $284K respectively. 

Warren, Steady as she goes : Warren has maintained a fairly consistent spending level with $192,426 this week slightly down (-5%) from last week’s $204,551, and consistent with $217,223 (11/11-11/17) and $227,030 (11/3-11/10). 

#NoMularkey; Biden’s social spending is slowing: His spending dropped -51% from $53,953 to $25,958, continuing a trend since his Burisma Bump, as the previous week’s spending was $83,284 (11/11-11/17), and $96,632 (11/3-11/10). 



Top Takes

Billionaires Row (if Trump is in fact a Billionaire) dominates spending with Steyer, Trump and Bloomberg accounting for 71% ($2M of $2.8M) of overall social spending this week.

Social Horse Race: Buttigieg dropped from 3rd to 6th this week, with Bloomberg jumping from 8th to 3rd, and Sanders (4th) and Warren (5th) surpassing him slightly. With Patrick not spending this week and Gabbard dropping her spending, Klobuchar (9th) and Booker (11th) both got back on the board this week.



Top Takes

Bloomberg’s Billions Stay in the Bank: Steyer immediately rose to a #1 spender when he joined the race and has rarely relinquished that position since. Bloomberg on the other hand seems to be dipping his toe in the water spending only $38,712. If his targeting is any indication, he’ll be going after Millennials hard as he’s spending 72% of his budget targeting 18-44 year olds.  Like most of the D field he is also targeting females more than men (60%F/40%M). His state spending is in PA, MI, AZ and WI and his ads are 100% anti-trump with limited messaging about himself. If he runs, will he be running to win or to strictly play a arole in helping Democrats defeat Trump (and increase his name ID nationally for a future run)?

Patrick the Healer: Patrick is taking a different approach as he spent 100% of his budget on 45+, and skewed slightly Male (53%). Patrick seems to be using social for fundraising as he targeted NY, MA, CA, TX and FL with his spending. His message is about “healing” the planet and community, and inclusivity vs divisiveness.

Trump vs Biden by the Numbers:  Both are targeting a similar segment of America in terms of age as each are spending close to 60% of their budgets on the 55+ age demo. Neither are focused much on Millennials with Trump spending 10% and Biden 7% against the 18-44 demo. The divergence is Biden is highly focused on women (64%) and Trump normally skews more male. If Biden becomes the nominee, would he pick a VP who could energize younger audiences?

Buttigieg is closer to Biden (7%) in spending only 14% of his budget against 18-34 year olds, than Warren (46%) and Sanders (44%) even though he’s closest in age to this demographic.

Steyer represents 44% of all spending, and Steyer and Trump combined represents 82%.

Trump vs the Democratic field would be spending evenly without Steyer’s spending.

Booker goes for the Big Bucks: Booker is primarily spending in CA, NY, FL and NJ suggesting he’s still using social primarily for fundraising.

Kamala came in 16th out of 18 candidates in spending, only spending more than Delaney and Bennet this week.

Williamson spent 65% of her budget in Nebraska this week suggesting she is using social to drive audience attendance.

Bullock ad blasts Rudy Guliani suggesting he should be the next to go to jail.

Yang spent 89% of his budget in IA which allowed him to come in as the #2 spender in the state.

Castro continues to suggest he may leave the race without more donations this time suggesting donations will help him get into the next debate. 

Delaney and Bennet both had negligible spending this week once again putting a spotlight on whether they’ll continue in the race.