If you are digital marketer that starts his first politics campaigns on Meta platform or just a citizen curious about ad spending made by some candidates on Facebook and Instagram you should know that there in an online public tool that allows tracking political ads. You can find data starting from 2018 for the United States or starting from 2019 in case of Romania or even more recently for other countries.

Meta Ad Library Report provides an overview with total ads and total amount spent for elections, politics or social issues and let you generate reports for a specific advertiser for a chosen period, as well as a list with all advertisers for last day, last week, last 30 days, last 90 days or all time. There is also a spending report per location, with top 10 spenders for each location. The data has 4 days delays, so any interval cannot be fresh than 4 days before the current one (most likely to protect server infrastructure when updating with new data and let queries flow from users).

As any data reported by Meta you should be aware about the disclaimer that numbers reported may differ slightly from numbers counted by Meta Ads Manager. In other words, no final numbers to consider, still a very good source to see different advertisers spending share for a period.

The main benefit of this reporting in my opinion is the access to all the ads used by an advertiser. Traditional media has a limited number of ads and creatives and is easy to collect all of it.  Digital media involves a lot of ads and creative and chasing around the internet takes time and makes impossible to gather all of it, so having all the collection stored by Meta is an excellent opportunity to analyze competitor creatives in depth.

As Romania is preparing for full election year I made a capture with top spenders on the last 30 days.

Meta elections ad spending Romania 16th Feb 16th March

Few comments:

  • Marcel Ciolacu, the current Prime Minister is leading the spending, even for now he has not opted for a specific position in the upcoming elections.
  • Nicusor Dan, the current Mayor of Bucharest is in the second position as he is running to win a second term. Strange that he spent 95% of budget in Bucharest, I would expect to see it full in this area. Could be a targeting error or a mismatch in Meta data?
  • European Parliament and European Commission are on the third and fifth spot. While the marketers from Parliament seem to know their job with 56 ads, those from the Commission don’t care too much about the spending with only 10 ads.

Grab the popcorn and enjoy the election race!