Invoices published by the BBC show the Conservatives investing huge amounts on their social media campaign, perhaps in an effort to win younger voters
The BBC has discovered that the Conservatives have been spending in excess of £100,000 a month on their Facebook campaign. Invoices obtained by the broadcaster suggest that the party may be running up bills of around £1 million per year on Facebook alone.
The extraordinary figure means the Tories are likely to face jibes from other parties about the wealth of their donors and the advantage this gives them in putting their content before large numbers of people. Matthew McGregor of Blue State Digital told the Today programme this morning:
“The fact they are outspending the Labour Party many, many times over because of the support from millionaire donors is going to have an impact.
“That’s something the Labour Party can respond to by out-organising the Conservatives.”
Labour is though to be spending less than 10,000 a month on their own Facebook campaign.
UKIP’s social media boss Raheem Kassan told the BBC that until recently UKIP were spending only around £100 a month on Facebook. At the Newark by election they increased spending on online advertising by £3,000, a figure which they plan to increase.
The Conservative invoices show that most of the money was spent encouraging Facebook users to give their email addresses, in order that they might receive emails asking for donations. They are likely to see the biggest voter engagement through social media from young people, who are more likely to rely on platforms like Facebook for politics news.
The Conservatives currently have 341,325 ‘likes’ on Facebook. Labour have 211,633, the Lib Dems 109, 521, the Green Party 147,514 and UKIP 332,924. This suggests that UKIP’s social media strategy is being better planned than those of the other parties, despite their substantially smaller budget.
Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on TwitterLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.