Liberals bought the most Facebook ads in B.C. out of all the major parties this election, using a combination of high-volume, low value ad buys that could indicate they were micro-targeting voters.
A Postmedia News analysis of political ads purchased on Facebook by official party accounts between Sept. 11 and Oct. 17 show that the Liberals published nearly 1,500 ads on Facebook that were seen by British Columbians – more than twice as many as the Conservatives and far outpacing ad buys from the other parties.
Nationally, the Conservative party spent more money on ads, spending over $300,000 between Oct. 10 and Oct. 16. The Liberals spent less than $150,000 during the same time period and the NDP just under $50,000.
Without more detailed targeting data from Facebook, it’s difficult to know exactly what the aim is, said Anatoliy Gruzd, Research Director at the Social Media Lab.
The Liberals could have lists of user IDs that have interacted with their pages, he said, or of people who voted Liberal in the past but might not this year. And more ads doesn’t always mean different ads, notes Gruzd.
“In reality, when we look at their ads they’re quite similar and formulaic.”
Data from the Facebook ad archive, a repository for political ads purchased on the platform, was downloaded for all ads that ran from Sept. 11 to Oct. 17. Ads were considered to be seen in B.C. if 0.1 per cent or more of the impressions were from B.C.