Beto O’Rourke is placing a very big bet on Facebook—so big that he’s spent nearly as much money on that type of digital ad as the next five-biggest candidate spenders combined.
Through October 20, O’Rourke alone had spent $5.4 million advertising on the platform, according to Facebook’s Ad Archive Report. J. B. Pritzker, Kamala Harris, Andrew Cuomo, Claire McCaskill, and Heidi Heitkamp had spent $5.5 million total. O’Rourke’s opponent, Senator Ted Cruz, had spent only $427,000 on Facebook, about 1/13th as much as O’Rourke.
Much of O’Rourke’s Facebook-ad buy seems to be going toward short videos of the candidate talking to crowds or directly to the camera.
“My personal point of view is that this is really smart—especially in a state like Texas, where TV is very expensive and there are many markets that may be out of reach for [O’Rourke],” said Dan Wagner, the chief analytics officer for the Obama 2012 campaign.
The two Texas Senate hopefuls are relatively close in spending on television ads. While O’Rourke had spent more than $15 million on television ads through mid-October, Cruz and associated PACs had spent $12 million and were on pace to nearly catch up there. O’Rourke has also spent $1.3 million on Google ads, also top among all candidates, though by a much narrower margin (Rick Scott has spent more than $1 million). Cruz has spent little on Google—$181,000—according to the company’s political transparency report.