New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) With the first phase of general elections now barely 10 days away, spending for political ads on social media platforms has soared, especially on Facebook where advertisers spent over Rs 1.5 crore during the March 17-March 23 period.
According to data available with the social networking giant’s Ad Library, which includes ads related to politics and issues of national importance that have been run on Facebook or Instagram, advertisers in India have already spent Rs 8.3 crore in less than two months.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s “Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat”, continues to lead the spending chart with over Rs 2.2 crore, which is more than one fourth of the total political ad spend on Facebook.
A pro-BJP Page, “My First Vote For Modi”, came second with an overall spending of Rs 61 lakh. This advertiser, which courted controversy for promising in its ads freebies in exchange for pledging “votes for Modi”, increased its spending in recent times, with Rs 46.6 lakh spent just in one week, during the March 17-March 23 period. The ads promising freebies to voters are still running on Facebook.
The data also show that it is the affiliates or supporters of political parties who are drumming up support on social media in favour of their parties. The Facebook page of the BJP, for example, spent just around Rs 9 lakh on ads since February.
The Facebook Page of the Indian National Congress spent around Rs 7 lakh since February, out of which more than Rs 5,40,000 was spent during the seven-day period from March 17- March 23.
It indicates that the Congress party is ramping up its spending on social media as the elections approach, although it lags far behind the BJP and its affiliates.
Some of the regional parties are, in fact, spending more on Facebook than the Congress.
The Facebook Page of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) President Naveen Patnaik has spent around Rs 35 lakh on ads.
Similarly, the political advocacy group “Indian Political Action Committee”, which is advertising for YSR Congress, spent close to Rs 33 lakh since February. Nearly half of the amount was spent in one week, during the March 17-23 period.
The trends so far suggest that the BJP is consistently leading the spending with a huge margin, while the Congress and other regional parties are trying to catch up.
The Twitter Ads Transparency Centre, on the other hand, on Saturday showed just five accounts that had spent on political ads on the platform in the past week.
Three of these five accounts have the “Chowkidar” prefix to their name and just two of the five accounts (including Mumbai Congress unit President Milind Deora) have spent over $200.
(Gokul Bhagabati can be contacted at email@example.com)