‘FB CAMPAIGN FEVER’: Political campaigns dominate Facebook ad spending

(Shutterstock image)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Political campaigns of 2022 election candidates dominated the top advertisement spending in Facebook that focused on Western Visayas, based on the social media platform’s Ads Library data.

The following 2022 election bets were the top 10 Facebook ad spenders on Oct. 26 to Nov. 24, 2021 – Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso, Panfilo Lacson, Bong Go, Leni Robredo, Kiko Pangilinan, Jun Labao, AA Legarda, and Winston Castelo.

Domagoso has the most featured ad pages in the top 10 with 4, followed by Lacson and Go with 2, and the rest with at least 1 page each featuring sponsored advertising on the social media platform.

The top two spenders are Partido Reporma or PR (P189,744) and the Ping Lacson Army (P150,642), both connected with the 2022 presidential bid of Senator Panfilo Lacson who is also the chairperson of PR.

Partido Reporma’s latest Facebook ad – a video touting Lacson’s education platform – has gained more than an estimated 1 million audience nationwide, with 6 percent of its share in the Western Visayas region.

The ad paid for by a certain Orange Strategic Communications based in Quezon City for an amount between P250,000 to P300,000, ran for a 14-day period, from Nov 13 to 26.

The total amount that Partido Reporma paid for ads on social issues, elections, and politics from Aug 4, 2020 to Nov 24, 2021 totaled P5.016 million.

The Ping Lacson Army’s top ad started running on Sept 24, featuring the senator’s recent visit to Kalayaan Island, and was paid for by GPMPI, also from Quezon City, for P30,000 to P35,000.

The ad attracted an estimated audience of more than 1 million, with 7 percent coming from Western Visayas.

The page’s total spending on ads on social issues, elections, and politics from Aug 4, 2020 to Nov 24, 2021 was around P2.7 million.

Daily Guardian found little information on both Orange Strategic Communications and GPMPI.

The former’s website contained only its name and email, while GPMPI’s website only states that it is a “professional Social Media Consultant since 2000,” years before social media became popular.

The third highest spending in the region is by another 2022 presidential contender, Vice President Leni Robredo (P135,407).

Her most recent ad contained a short message “Araw-araw, pinipili kita (Every day I choose you),” which was paid with P300,000 to P350,000.

The ad also has an estimated audience size of 1 million, with Western Visayas getting a 6 percent share.

But unlike the Lacson advertisers, “Dapat Si Leni” team’s website has more components, including an interactive website leading to campaign videos, a volunteer application portal, and the group’s social media handles.

Its spending on ads on social issues, elections, and politics from Aug 4, 2020 to Nov 24, 2021, however, has totaled P4.52 million.

The fourth-highest ad spending in the same period is by news portal IKOT.PH (P80,268), with its latest ads both featuring 2022 vice presidential candidate Senator Kiko Pangilinan.

The ads feature Pangilinan’s statements, one pushing for additional fuel subsidies for other public utility drivers, and the other opposing increased passport renewal fees for Overseas Filipino Workers.

Amounts spent on the ads were around P40,000 to P45,000 (subsidy ad) and P45,000 to P50,000 (OFW passport ad), with both garnering an estimated audience size of more than 1 million with Western Visayas audience accounting for 7 percent.

Majority of IKOT.PH’s ads are sponsored news posts featuring Pangilinan, but also has more than one ad on other 2022 candidates, including presidentiables Senator Bong Go and Manila mayor Francisco Domagoso, and Quezon City vice mayoral candidate Councilor Winnie Castelo.

The page has spent P2.019 million on ads about social issues, elections, and politics from Aug 4, 2020 to Nov 24, 2021.

The top five Facebook ad spending is by Mambusao, Capiz Mayor Jun Labao (P59,248), who is running for the province’s 2nd congressional district seat.

Labao’s latest ad, which started running on Nov. 26, cost between P100-P199 only, but has an estimated audience size of more than 1 million, with 11 percent share from Western Visayas.

His ads were paid for under the Mr. Good Governance moniker, and the advertiser’s website contains several updates, including his achievements, campaign materials, and other features.

Unlike the other top spenders in the region, Labao’s page has spent only P98,333 on ads since its creation on Oct. 3.

The sixth highest spender is the page Isko 2022-Western Visayas (P52,877) ran by the Supporters of Isko in Visayas, a group backing Domagoso’s presidential bid based in Cebu City.

All of the page’s Facebook ads are inactive, with the latest gaining only 7,000 to 8,000 impressions unlike the higher spenders, but with an estimated audience size of 1 million.

The most recent ads from this page cost not more than P500, the latest ranging only between P100 to P199.

Its total spending on ads about social issues, elections, and politics as Nov 24, 2021 was at P110,597.

The seventh-highest spender is NewPost (P41,077), which was created on Jan. 18, 2020, but only posted Facebook ads this month, majority of them about Senator Bong Go.

Its latest ad, a news item containing Go’s statement to “prioritize the welfare and interests of Filipinos regardless of the outcome of elections”, was paid for by a certain Christian Vicente Puod from Novaliches, Quezon City for around P15,000 to P20,000.

With an estimated audience size of more than 1 million, 6 percent of audience share came from Western Visayas.

Following is another news site, The Manila Journal (P40,293), which has recently posted ads containing general information and some news stories, but its earlier ads also featured Domagoso.

Its latest ad featuring Domagoso, which cost between P3,000 to P3,500, was targeted for CALABARZON and Western Visayas regions, with the latter taking 37 percent audience share of impressions ranging from 100,000 to 125,000.

It has spent up to P260,042 on ads about social issues, elections, or politics as of Nov. 24, 2021.

Rapid News PH Visayas (P37,953), which is the ninth top advertiser in the region, has promotional advertisements and some news items on Cebu City on its active advertisers list, but most of its currently inactive advertisements featured Domagoso as well.

Its last ad on the Manila mayor regarding campaign motorcades in Metro Manila and Cebu was paid for by Rapid News PH itself for P7,000 to P8,000.

The ad garnered 200,000 to 250,000 impressions, with 52 percent of its audience share coming from Western Visayas.

Since its page creation on July 6, 2021, the page has spent P98,983 on ads about social issues, elections or politics.

Rounding out the top 10 is Antonio Agapito Legarda Jr., or AA Legarda (P37,735), who is running for Antique’s lone congressional district to replace his incumbent sister, Deputy Speaker Loren, who is seeking a Senate comeback.

AA Legarda’s latest ad, a greeting for the Social Welfare Week, which cost between P1,500 to P2,000, was paid for by “Antique for AA Legarda” based in Sibalom town.

Unlike all other ad spenders in the top 10, his ads are 100 percent viewed from Western Visayas, with an estimated audience size of 100,000 to 500,000 people.

The page was created on Aug 2, 2021 and has since spent P61,034 on ads about social issues, elections or politics.

The total amount spent in advertising on Facebook in Western Visayas alone from Oct. 26 to Nov. 24 has amounted to P1.4 million.

The region has the 5th most Facebook ad spending within this period, behind Metro Manila (P5.8 million), CALABARZON (P4.7 million), Central Luzon (P2.8 million), and Bicol Region (P2.1 million).