Election countdown: BJP and Congress splurge crores on Google and Meta ads ahead of Lok Sabha polls

Last-minute spending frenzy on digital platforms sees BJP and Congress leading the charge, while affiliate pages on Meta outspend major political players.

By  Tasmayee Laha RoyApr 11, 2024 9:47 AM
Election countdown: BJP and Congress splurge crores on Google and Meta ads ahead of Lok Sabha polls
In the last week alone, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress together spent close to Rs 8 crore on Google and Meta ads.(Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash)

With a little over a week remaining until the Lok Sabha polls kick off, political parties are intensifying their digital advertising efforts to gain a last-mile advantage. Last-minute spends on digital platforms are soaring into crores as parties gear up for the seven-phase elections starting on April 19.

In the last week alone, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress together spent close to Rs 8 crore on Google and Meta ads.

Political ad spends on Google

As per Google’s Ad Transparency Center, the BJP and the Indian National Congress lead in spending, with Rs8.36 crore and Rs7.6 crore respectively, over the past month on political ads.

The top three spenders on Google Ads also include. Popular Empowerment Network Private Limited, a sociopolitical research organisation, spent Rs Rs7.66 crore. Ads from this organisation, particularly those related to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin's campaign, accounted for over Rs30 lakh between April 2 and April 9.

Overall, in the last 30 days (March 11 to April 9), Google Ads Transparency data shows a total spending of Rs41.46 crore on 74,765 political ads. Back in 2019, the spends on political ads on Google around the same time amounted to Rs 8.47 crore.

Spends on Meta

Turning to Meta, while the BJP has historically dominated ad spends across platforms, other parties are now stepping up their efforts. In the past month, between March 8 and April 6, 2024, the Indian National Congress spent Rs1.47 crore on 276 ads related to social issues, elections, or politics on Meta ads. Conversely, the BJP allocated Rs8.45 lakh for 6,681 ads on the Meta platform during the same period. Despite the Indian National Congress leading in spending on Meta ads, the BJP ranked fourth.

Interestingly, certain affiliate pages on Meta have outspent the BJP.

Affiliate pages spending on Meta

One prominent example is MyGovIndia, a citizen engagement platform launched by the government in 2014. MyGovIndia spent Rs1.42 crore on 67 Meta ads, focusing heavily on national creator award videos and clips. Similarly, MemeXpress emerged as the third highest spender on Meta, allocating Rs1.10 crore for 291 ads in the last 30 days. These pages often run paid promotions with messages like "BJP will rise in Tamil Nadu and DMK will decline" or slogans such as "Entire AAP is corrupted in this time, electricity won’t be free.”

Why digital matters

Political parties and candidates are heavily using social media to attract the GenZ voters. From memes to influencers, parties are leaving no stone unturned.

As Unny Radhakrishnan, CEO, Digitas India pointed out previously, political parties are using all potential opportunities within the digital and content ecosystem.

“Influencers and video content will be key during the 2024 general elections. Multiple content snippets and narratives will be created and distributed through various social channels,”he had said.

“In many parts of the country, there are YouTube channels focused on select geographies or audiences, which will also play an important role,” he added.

“Despite information overload and digital natives spend hours online, engaging with creators and influencers who can influence culture and politics.These influencers offer a direct and personalised connection, bypassing traditional media gatekeepers. These trends push parties to spend on social platforms through not just ads but also collaborations and partnerships,”said a political strategist who did not wish to be named.

First Published on Apr 11, 2024 8:15 AM

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