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General election 2015 ad spend: The Conservatives spent over £1m more than Labour on Facebook


By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

January 20, 2016 | 3 min read

The Conservative party spent £1.2m of its ad budget for the 2015 General Election on Facebook campaigns, while Labour allocated just over £16K to the platform.

Figures released by the Electoral Commission today (20 January) indicate that British political parties handed over £1.3m to Mark Zuckerberg's company in the 12 months leading up to the general election, with the bulk of the money coming from the Conservatives.

Labour, which expended £12m overall on its campaign gave the social network £16,454.67, while Ukip spent £91,322, the Lib Dems £22,245, and the SNP £5,466.

The Tories submitted £15.6m in receipts – £3.5m more than their rivals, and 42 per cent of the entire amount forked out by all parties, which was up nearly 20 per cent on the 2010 election at £37.3m.

The Conservatives' decision to plough so much into social follows a shift in strategy implemented by the party's former digital strategists Craig Elder and Tom Edmonds. Back in February 2015 it was reported that David Cameron's party were paying up to £100,000 a month to advertise on Facebook.

Google also played a key role in last year's election. The Conservatives stumped up £312,033 (including the price for its YouTube pre-rolls) compared to Labour's much smaller billing of £371.54.

Twitter was notably absent from the majority of spending, with parties opting to spread content organically on the platform rather than pay for it. All in, close to £8000 was spent on Twitter by the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.

Labour's controversial pink bus, which it used to chaperone senior party figures around the country to address female voters, was found to have cost the party almost £5000, while data revealed that Ukip spent £10,000 on a bulk order of Nigel Farage's book The Purple Revolution.

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