How the US election is impacting your Facebook marketing

As we enter the last leg of the 2020 US presidential race, social media and Facebook in particular will continue to be important campaign platforms for Donald Trump, Joe Biden and other American politicians. Therefore it comes as no surprise that the political media spend has increased rapidly since mid-September with political Facebook page advertising going from around $5M to $15M daily spend on Facebook in the US.

This is a substantial amount of spend that has been estimated to make up close to 15% of total daily Facebook ad spend in the US, enough to create significant implications on other advertisers on the network. We are looking at a total network increase in the US by potentially more than 10% in less than a month during a period which is not characterized by big holiday sales and the like that typically drive media spikes. Marketers should be aware that this can have a significant impact on their performance and make sure to keep an extra close eye on their campaigns right now. Since we are two weeks away from election day we probably haven’t seen the peak yet.

Historical Facebook ad revenue puts US Q3 spend at around $9B

Based on numbers from Statista Facebook ad revenue in Q2 this year was $9B in the US and Canada combined. That amounts to a staggering $100M/day. Facebook ad spend varies a lot quarter by quarter with a peak in Q4. For the past few years it is roughly true that Q3 spend ≈ last year’s Q4 spend. Q4 2019 saw Facebook get $10B in ad revenue. This amounts to somewhere around $110M per day. US population makes up 90% of the US/Canada population and assuming an even split among citizens that would mean the spend per day in US in Q3 under normal circumstances would amount to $110*0.9≈$100M.

With political ads amounting to $15M/day that makes political ads somewhere around 10-15% of total daily Facebook spend. That is clearly a lot and the recent increase from $5M to $15M per day means an increase of Facebook spend by ~10% in a very short period of time. The trend as of now points upwards and we are still two weeks away from the election. 

Conclusion

Political ad spend in the US can potentially have increased the daily spend across Facebook in the US by more than 10% over a very short period of time. The big question for a digital advertiser is of course how this will impact your performance. Will it just increase CPMs? Will Facebook free up a bit more inventory and so CPMs stay stable but conversion rates drop? The main takeaway for now is that any marketer should expect this October to be more expensive than usual, likely regardless of network.

🤓 Rikard Karlander
Head of Analytics, Twigeo


📅 October 20, 2020