BJP tops ad spend on Google and YouTube
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) led political ad spending on Google and its video sharing app YouTube, accounting for almost a third of the total spending on the two platforms, according to the first political ad transparency report for India released by Google on Thursday.
The BJP spent ₹1.21 crore of the ₹3.76 crore expended by political parties on ads published on Google and YouTube between 19 February and 4 April, said the report.
Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Telugu Desam Party and the main opposition YSR Congress Party and entities from neighbouring Telangana spent ₹2.48 crore on search giant Google and its other partner properties. The Congress spent ₹54,100, placing 14 ads.
Google’s report included information about Lok Sabha election ads that feature or are run by a political party, a political candidate, or a current member of the Lok Sabha. Last year, Google had released a similar ad transparency report for its home market, the United States.
“This report reflects the amount of preparation and digital sophistication that now goes into elections. It is important to exploit the potential of digital penetration in India to reach a large section of potential voters. BJP has continued its digital dominance since the previous Lok Sabha elections. Regional parties now have given a digital push. I expect the ad spend to pick up just before each voting phase,” said BG Mahesh, who worked on digital political ad campaigns in 2014 and is now a digital ad expert.
The YSR Congress Party was the second highest spender on political ads at ₹1 crore. Political research firm Pramanya Strategy Consulting, based in Hyderabad, spent ₹85 lakh to promote ads about the TDP. Digitant Consulting spent ₹63 lakh on ads about the TDP.
In terms of geography as well, spending was concentrated on Andhra Pradesh (₹1.7 crore and Telangana (₹72.7 lakh). UP (₹18.47 lakh), Maharashtra (₹17.19 lakh) and Bihar ( ₹10.53 lakh) followed.
Online political ads on Facebook accounted for ₹10.32 crore in the period between February and March, according to the Facebook ad archive report. The BJP and its affiliates have spent an estimated ₹5 crore on Facebook so far, added the same report.
Twitter at present shows only five activeTwitter handles using the microblogging platform to promote political tweets – three belong to the BJP and one to Congress MP Milind Deora.
Twitter said the enforcement of its political campaigning policy in India began on March 11, and the certification process required the advertiser to take several steps before placing ads on the platform. “ As soon as the certification process is completed, advertisers who start promoting political campaigning ads on Twitter will appear in the Ads Transparency Centre and in the list of certified political campaigning advertisers,” a Twitter spokesperson said in an emailed response.