Which political parties spent big on social media ads before the election?

Which political parties spent big on social media ads before the election? New research reveals the millions

election ads

Political parties and candidates spent at least $12.5 million running 26,945 political advertisements on Facebook and Instagram in the two months before the federal election.

Female voters accounted for 181.8 million ad impressions, with women being more successfully engaged by ads from the Greens and Labor, than ads from the Coalition.

The figures come from new research by The Australia Institute, which tracked the ads run by political parties and candidates between 21 March and 20 May 2022.

Younger people between the ages of 25-34 were the demographic with the highest share of ad impressions, accounting for 28 per cent of the total.

Meanwhile, women were more likely to view political ads on Facebook and Instagram than men, with the largest difference seen in ads for The Greens at 7.6 per cent, followed by Labor at 3.8 per cent. For the Coalition, the difference was under 1 per cent.

“Our research shows women voters engaged substantially more with Labor and Greens messages, while the Coalition had a 50/50 gender split,” said Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director of the Australia Institute.  

According to the Australia Institute, exit polls found that 73 per cent of voters said they had come across political ads that they knew were misleading. 43 per cent of these people said they saw the misleading ad at least once a day, 22 per cent said they saw it once a week, and 8 per cent saw it once a month.

A massive 86 per cent of voters agreed that truth in political advertising laws should be established before the next election.

“This research underscores the need for ‘truth in political advertising’ laws,” Bennett said.

“It’s perfectly legal to lie in a political ad in Australia and it shouldn’t be. Our research shows 86% of voters want this legislated before the next election.

“The new parliament has an opportunity to improve democratic integrity by supporting the reforms flagged by Independent MP Zali Steggall, based on the SA model laws.”

The single ad with the most amount of money behind it was one published by the United Australia Party that ran between 14 May to 18 May, costing $162,500.

Of the major parties, the ALP spent the most money on social media advertising, at least $5 million in the final two months. The total spend by the Coalition was $3.5 million.

The United Australia Party came had a total ad spend of $1.7 million over the same period.

The seat of Kooyong in Victoria, where high-profile independent Dr Monique Ryan was elected over Josh Frydenberg, had the highest ad spend of any electorate in the country. Frydenberg spent $219,400 while Dr Ryan spent just over half of that amount, at $115,100.

Anthony Albanese spent $197,450 in his electorate of Grayndler, making it the seat with the second-highest social media spend.

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