The B.C. Liberals more than tripled their spending on Facebook to more than $40,000 a day last week, prompting the NDP to issue an urgent plea for last-minute donations.
In a Monday morning email blast with the subject line “We’re coming up short,” NDP media manager Tyler Michaels asked supporters for $10 each “right now” with a goal of raising an additional $18,000 before the party locked in its ad spend that afternoon.
“Last week, The Vancouver Sun reported that the B.C. Liberals are outspending us two-to-one on Facebook advertising,” he wrote. “Here’s the thing: We can be outspent and still win — but if we’re outspent by THAT much, we risk being drowned out.”
The NDP had hoped to commit another $50,000 to Facebook ads in an effort to gain their ads another 2.2 million exposures before election day on Saturday.
“The B.C. Liberals are going all-in with digital ads — we need to as well,” he wrote. “We can’t risk pulling back on our digital ad spending this close to Election Day.”
In the past seven days, the New Democrats have spent $89,835 on ads through their main Facebook page and another $12,498 through Premier John Horgan’s page.
In the same period, the Liberals have spent $179,805 from their main page and another $31,411 from party leader Andrew Wilkinson’s page.
Whether the Liberals can maintain that dominance is uncertain, especially after their spending dropped to just $10,000 a day on the weekend.
The content of Liberal ads is focused mainly on their key platform planks — competition in auto insurance, the PST, public safety and child care — with a strong presence of dark images of tent cities and attack ads.
“Voters in all regions are concerned about rising crime and record homelessness, and (they are) responding positively to our commitment to improve treatment, end permanent tent cities, and invest in more police and prosecutors,” said Liberal campaign spokeswoman Carlie Pochynok.
Postmedia’s daily spending data for each party includes ads on Facebook and Facebook-owned properties including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
The Green party spent more than $11,000 online over last Friday and Saturday, which included a blitz of Facebook ads leveraging leader Sonia Furstenau’s performance in the leaders’ debate and the propensity of the Liberals and NDP to offer tax breaks to fossil-fuel companies.
“We’ve been continuing to break (fundraising) records since Sonia became leader and especially since the debate, 43 per cent of donors are new to the party,” said Green campaign spokeswoman Jillian Oliver.
The climate crisis continues to be a top-of-mind issue, especially on Vancouver Island, she added.
The New Democrats’ ad feed continues to hammer the Liberals for offering “tax breaks for millionaires” and “wealthy speculators,” while Horgan’s own ad feed lately features positive images of parents with children and female trades workers.
Buys across multiple platforms are tweaked daily and currently include ads highlighting “Wilkinson’s choices and policies” and Liberal “neglect” that will continue to run through to election day, according to the NDP campaign team.
Messaging will remain consistent “that this pandemic has challenged all of us, but that the way we’ll move through is by taking care of each other.”
The NDP data team runs ads across all 87 ridings, but focuses heavier spending in specific ridings as needed. The final week of the campaign will include get-out-the-vote messages reminding people where and how to vote, they said.
All three parties and their leaders kept their messaging positive on Twitter according to Postmedia’s tweet sentiment analysis, with Furstenau being the most likely to tweet negative messages, followed by Wilkinson. Horgan’s account and the NDP’s party account stayed consistently away from negative messaging.
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