During last month’s European election campaign, the EU institutions and European political parties spent almost four million euro on paid Facebook posts. Data published by Facebook reveals how much was spent in each country, and who spent the most.
3.9 million euro for a total of 6,686 ads, mostly aimed at mobilising voters for last month’s European elections: these are the figures for political ads posted on Facebook from the beginning of March to the end of May 2019 in the 28 EU member states, paid for by the European Parliament, the European Commission and the political parties which compose political groups across Europe. The figures are publicly available on Facebook’s ads library.
The data on political ads on Facebook do not specify all of the details on the investments, as this article of Journalism++ explains. For instance, the recipient targets are not specified, and some information about the investments of the local branches of the parties is missing. The data on which our analysis has been carried out are freely accessible here.
Spending by the European institutions and European parties accounted for 16 percent of the total political spending during these three months within the European Union. Almost all other ads were created by national parties or individual candidates. This is a clear sign of the continuing predominance of national parties in European politics, and the relative weakness of pan-European ones. However, we should also note the significant role played by the European Parliament, which has likely never invested so much in ads on social networks.
European institution spending
While the European Commission spent just 105,000 euro in the three months leading up to the European elections, the European Parliament spent 3.3 million euro on promoted Facebook posts in the same period. The ads were mostly aimed at encouraging citizens to vote, as part of the “This Time I’m Voting ” campaign: this may have contributed to the increased turnout, after decades of