Leading e-commerce player Flipkart emerged as the biggest political Facebook advertiser after the ruling party.
It spent nearly Rs 18 lakh on public service advertisements on the importance of voting. This makes it the biggest spender after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Facebook makes available a weekly list of the biggest spenders on advertisements on issues of political or national importance as part of its transparency policies. The latest data is for the week between April 28 and May 4. Flipkart is one of two entities in the top five list for public service advertisements. The second is Kanpur-based skincare player Venus Crème Bar which spent Rs seven lakh on a separate voter awareness campaign.
This marks an interesting departure from previous weeks when political parties largely dominated the top spenders. The two companies spent on public service advertisements asking people to vote, than by the majority of campaigning parties spent on seeking votes for themselves. The Indian National Congress and the All India Trinamool Congress were third and fourth respectively in the weekly top five list of Facebook advertisers.
This could well be because spending has slowed down as elections have wound down. Indeed, overall spends fallen 13 per cent at Rs 2.5 crore compared to the previous week which saw Rs 2.91 crore, itself an 18.4 per cent rise over the previous week.
But the BJP appears to be the biggest spender so far. Four out of the top five pages in terms of money spent on political advertising endorse the BJP or its candidates. They together account for over 30 per cent of the overall Facebook spends.
The top search-terms for the week include the ‘BJP’, ‘Congress Party Punjab’ and ‘Modi’.
The total amount spent on political advertising is Rs 22.86 crore on Facebook. The total number of such advertisements is 103,700.
Search engine giant Google also releases similar data.
There have been 14,328 such advertisements on its platform. The total amount spent is Rs 25.2 crore since February 19, 2019.
The BJP seems to be driving a lot of the incremental spending here as well. Its spending rose from Rs 11.6 crore as of May 2, to Rs 14.8 crore as of May 8. Spending was flat for all the other four in the top-five list. They include Tamil Nadu’s Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. The Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana also features on the list. There are also two companies in the list. Unlike Flipkart and Venus Crème, their spending seems focused on political promotion. The Pramanya Strategy Consulting and Auburn Digital Solutions appear to have promoted the Andhra Pradesh Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu.