Blog Insight

The Election’s Impact on Social Media and How to Survive It

There’s no escaping election politics this time of year, and political advertising is the megaphone making sure you don’t. In this election cycle, campaign ads are generating a greater-than-expected impact on social media and have pushed the topic of politics to the top of everyday conversations. But there is a way you can take back control.

Campaign spending reaches record territory.

Candidates are spending millions of dollars a week to get their messages front and center on the screens of Americans. Unbeknownst to many people, with a click of a button, users can see how much money candidates are spending on Facebook. (For example, be amazed at Facebook Ads Library.) Right now, we’re seeing presidential candidates spending more than $5 million per week—each. That means, if you take Facebook’s $10 average cost per thousand impressions (CPM), each candidate is paying to serve 500 million impressions per week. With 221 million Facebook users in the United States, each American is being served five political ads per week on Facebook alone.

Facebook is getting rich. Again.

Facebook is generating millions of dollars from political ads,1 impacting the brands that use the platform to build their businesses every day. Because competition for ad inventory is up across the board with this exponential increase in political ad spending, brands are seeing higher media costs for ad placements and are struggling to be seen and heard above the noise of campaign ads.

 

 

Users are gaining more control.

Many Americans have expressed frustration with the abundance of political content shown on their social media feeds. Channels such as Facebook and Instagram are giving users the option to turn those updates off. That’s right! You can opt out of seeing political content. Now that’s liberty!


The political content controls on Facebook

According to the New York Times, “The move allows Facebook to play both sides of a complicated debate about the role of political advertising on social media ahead of the November presidential election. With the change, Facebook can continue allowing political ads to flow across its network, while also finding a way to reduce the reach of those ads and to offer a concession to critics who have said the company should do more to moderate noxious speech on its platform.”2

While this option eliminates political advertising on the platform, users are still able to participate in political conversations in whatever way they choose. Facebook allows users to add filters to their profile picture to show their voter pride. Instagram has created interactive GIFs to share on Instagram Stories related to the election or to click on for more information about registering to vote, voting early, and voting by mail. Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms include more direct questions about users’ voter status and direct users to more information on how to change it.

Influencers are busy on social media too and are using their platforms with millions of followers to encourage millennials to take to the polls.

Election Day is coming up on November 3, 2020, and it's hard not to notice the influence it has on both paid and organic social media platforms. With all that said, are you registered to vote?

 

1. “US Facebook Political Ad Revenues, 2018–2020,” eMarketer, https://www.emarketer.com/chart/234403/us-facebook-political-ad-revenues-2018-2020-millions-change-of-total-facebook-ad-revenues.

2. Mike Isaac, “Now You Can Opt Out of Seeing Political Ads on Facebook,” The New York Times, June 16, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/16/technology/opt-out-political-ads-facebook.html.