Trump and Biden court older women demographic with Facebook ads
By Rachel Kraus
Who do the ladies love the most? Trump and Biden are hoping it’s them.
Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has been pouring money into Facebook ads, particularly those targeting older women, according to Facebook data recently highlighted by the New York Times. There’s only one candidate who can hold a candle to the Trump campaign’s Facebook spending: Joe Biden.
Thanks to Facebook’s Ad Library, anyone is able to see just how much cash each campaign is spending on Facebook, what kind of ads they’re buying, and who those ads are reaching. This year, President Trump’s campaign has spent about $5 million on Facebook ads. Not until mid-March did all twenty-freaking-two of the democratic candidates combine to spend as much as Trump on Facebook advertising.
Now, Trump isn’t the only candidate relying heavily on the social network. Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden outspent Trump on Facebook in May, giving Zuck enterprises $1.1 million, compared to about $940,000.
Their ads both feature (relatively) dashing images of the 70-year-old men, but substantively, couldn’t be more different. Biden’s ads saber rattle about tax cuts for the ultra wealthy, while Trump’s ads have more recently been asking viewers to wish the president a happy birthday, or to get a signed MAGA hat.
One thing does look very similar: the extent to which they’re wooing women over 45.
“Older people are more likely to vote than younger folks, and both Biden and Trump both know that women are key to winning in 2020,” Jane Hughes, a director at Democratic communications agency Bully Pulpit Interactive, said.
According to Bully Pulpit’s analysis, Biden is targeting a whopping 82 percent of his Facebook ads to people over 45. Trump is allocating 75 percent for the same.
Joe is also apparently wooing the demographic made famous by Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation: women who love Joe Biden. The audience for his ads was more than 65 percent women.
As the Times points out, white women in particular are an important demographic for Trump. They helped swing the election the president’s way in 2016, and in 2018 the same demographic helped usher in a blue tsunami in the House. Furthermore, while there aren’t a disproportionate amount of U.S. women on Facebook, they are among the most active Facebook users, according to Bully Pulpit. And in the political arena, it’s not clear who the majority of this demographic will back.
“White women are catching up with women of color who have a long history of supporting Democrats,” Hughes said. “Biden, who faces a primary field of talented and qualified woman opponents, is looking to seize that momentum. Trump, whose party is facing backlash for unprecedented abortion bans in states across the country, is trying to pull women back in his direction.”
Other candidates are also going after the same demographic. But Biden is outspending Kamala Harris – his closest competitor, in terms of Facebook ad dollars — two to one.
In the past, candidates hoped to reach voters who voted based on network news. But the Trump campaign showed how Facebook’s microtargeted ads could be a powerful way to reach voters in unprecedented ways.
Ultimately, it’ll be up to all the (hopefully wise) women out there to decide who they love more.