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Indian political parties focus on FB ads before election

BJP is in the lead with ad spend of Rs 2.37 crore for the month of February

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MUMBAI: All political parties have started taking digital seriously and are spending on Facebook ads before the upcoming elections. The social media giant has revealed some data on ad spends of political parties for the month of February. According to a report by The Economic Times, BJP and its affiliates made up for over 50 per cent of the total spend. Congress and its affiliates came third, behind regional parties. BJP is miles ahead of the rest in political ad spend on Facebook.

BJP and its affiliates spent Rs 2.37 crore in February on Facebook ads. Regional parties spent about Rs 19.8 lakh, while Congress and its affiliates spent around Rs 10.6 lakh. 

Among regional parties, the big spenders were Biju Janata Dal, Nationalist Congress Party, Telugu Desam Party, YSR Congress Party and Shiv Sena. 

The social media will account for 20-25 per cent of the party’s total ad spend by the time campaigning is over. Facebook and its photo-sharing platform Instagram are expected to corner a significant chunk of BJP’s social media ad budget, party leaders said. 

Government departments such as MyGov and campaigns like Digital India have spent over Rs 35 lakh on Facebook, the data revealed. 

Facebook has begun instituting what it claims are stricter rules for political advertisements before the model code of conduct for the 2019 general election kicks in. All Facebook ads related to Indian politics now have to abide by the company’s authorisation process launched in December. Political advertisements have to display details of their publishers and funders. 

The social media company’s political ad portal archives all Indian political ads along with audience demographics and funding details for seven years. Facebook, according to business intelligence portal Statista, had over 294 million monthly active users in India as of October 2018. 

Among the prominent Facebook ads is an official BJP campaign through a page called ‘Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat’, for which the party spend Rs 1.1 crore in February. The advertiser disclaimer on the page carries the address of the party’s office on Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg in New Delhi. There’s also a Facebook page called ‘Nation With Namo’, which has spent over Rs 60 lakh in February.

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