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A look at campaign Facebook spending

Monday, Nov 29, 2021

* From the Center Square

It’s not fake news, but social media ads funded by Gov. J.B. Pritzker could still fool some users.

Illinois gubernatorial candidates are expected to use traditional media like TV and radio to get their message out. But, millions have already been spent on social media outlets such as Facebook, mostly by Pritzker.

Since 2018, a Facebook page for “JB Pritzker” has spent more than $3.6 million on ads, $271,000 of which Facebook notes ran without a disclaimer.

Reform For Illinois Executive Director Alisa Kaplan said there is additional spending.

“Social media, in particular, can be a little deceptive in how ads are presented,” Kaplan said. “Some of the Pritzker ads for example are presented as news pieces.”

* Here’s one of the ads featured in the above story

And if you click that image, it takes you directly to the Tribune column. Seems like the usual stuff you’d see in TV ads, only interactive. Labeling it “Illinois Daily” is a bit much, though.

* While we’re at it, let’s go back to the article to see what else is going on at Facebook

The lead Facebook spender for the Republicans from the past week was Jesse Sullivan, spending $1,700, though all time Sullivan’s campaign has spent $134,000 in Facebook ads.

Businessman Gary Rabine spent around $480 in the past week and nearly $53,000 all time.

Former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, spent about $350 in the past week and $10,500 in total on Facebook.

State Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, has spent $55,300 all time and just $190 in the past week.

* Some of their ads. Click the pics for more info…

* But then there are ads that perhaps Reform For Illinois and other groups ought to be truly concerned with. We used to call Local Government Information Services the “Proft newspapers,” but whoever the ownership, check out their latest FB ads


I’m guessing you won’t see that in Center Square.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

15 Comments
  1. - SWIL_Voter - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:21 pm:

    Dems have needed to do this for most of the last decade. Better late than never. Republicans have been doing this stuff unopposed for a long time.


  2. - The Captain - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:22 pm:

    I don’t understand why the Republican gubernatorial candidates aren’t spending a lot more on digital. Especially someone like Bailey, he should be building a massive low-dollar online army. He has the kind of red-meat campaign that would be perfect for it, it seems like malpractice that he isn’t dumping a ton of resources into digital right now.


  3. - Arsenal - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:28 pm:

    ==I don’t understand why the Republican gubernatorial candidates aren’t spending a lot more on digital. ==

    I think the first problem is that they don’t have a ton of money.

    Sullivan might, but there doesn’t appear to be an Act 2 to his splashy $11M opening bid.


  4. - Responsa - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:29 pm:

    Have at it dudes and dudettes of both parties. Every penny spent on Facebook political ads is wasted for the people like me who gave up on Facebook years ago. Other digital ads may be effective for the first few times but they, like TV ads, become invasive, annoying and counterproductive after that.


  5. - Arsenal - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:36 pm:

    ==Every penny spent on Facebook political ads is wasted for the people like me who gave up on Facebook years ago.==

    That’s fine, but there’s a ton of persuadable voters still on FB.


  6. - ZC - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:39 pm:

    I’ve seen that ad for JB like a dozen times on my FB feed, lost count. It looks like a contemporary news article and of course it is a Tribune article, it’s just of course now a little deceptive in that you might think it was written later than spring 2020.


  7. - Leap Day William - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:47 pm:

    Fun fact about those “Local Government Information Services” astroturfed newspapers like Chambana Sun: You can’t find them on Twitter, because Twitter suspended them for egregious rules violations during the 2020 election.

    https://twitter.com/chambanasun


  8. - dollerz - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:52 pm:

    Jesse Sullivan also did an odd sponsorship of spots featuring small businesses on the 217 problems Facebook page. This was a week or 2 ago.


  9. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:52 pm:

    “I don’t understand why the Republican gubernatorial candidates aren’t spending a lot more on digital.”

    Purely anecdotal, but I’ve noticed something in my keeping tabs on some social media pages.

    There are a large amount of issue-specific social media pages. Some of those are even very location specific as well. In the latter case, it will be an existing page for a larger issue, but narrowed down to a specific town. Along the lines of school district specific groups focused on mask policy. The people living in that area then join that local group.

    Then the next step happens.

    Republican candidates then ‘crosspost’ their own campaign communication into these specifically targeted existing groups.

    This appears to be an increasingly popular method, mostly because it costs nothing. It does seem to be a way to get around the requirement to disclose advertising, even if at the expense of being able to use a targeted campaign. Picking out a subset of groups already focused on localized issues serves the same purpose as the specialized ad tools.

    At the least, it’s interesting to watch.


  10. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 1:22 pm:

    ===It does seem to be a way to get around the requirement to disclose advertising===

    I dunno. It’s the virtual equivalent to attending events and functions.


  11. - Bailey’s Book of Faces - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 1:30 pm:

    Nope it’s a little more hidden and he’s spent more than $55,000. Look at the transparency on his page, he’s spending more like $8,000 a week on socials.


  12. - Tommydanger - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 1:33 pm:

    If restaurants aren’t closed in London, I’m pretty sure you don’t have to put a straw through your mask to have a drink.


  13. - Fav Human - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 1:52 pm:

    Every penny spent on Facebook political ads is wasted for the people like me who gave up on Facebook years ago.

    A lot of people have given up cable, too. You need to reach them in some way.

    I see lots of political ads on Youtube and Instagram. Probably others places too.


  14. - SportShoz - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 1:53 pm:

    - Jesse Sullivan also did an odd sponsorship of spots featuring small businesses on the 217 problems Facebook page. This was a week or 2 ago. -

    He’s still doing it on Instagram


  15. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 3:08 pm:

    Center Square raising its eyebrow at something politically motivated posing as legit media.

    The irony shark just got jumped.


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