Over £2k spent by Foyle election candidates on Facebook adverts

Facebook’s Ad Library Report has revealed how much cash candidates and parties spent on adverts on the platform over the past 90 days.

Sunday, 9th February 2020, 7:00 pm

The tool shows just two candidates in Foyle, Colum Eastwood and Elisha McCallion, spent money on adverts from November 6, 2019, to February 3, 2020.

Between the start of the Westminster election campaign and this week, £1,660 is reported to have been spent on 54 political adverts by the current SDLP MP Colum Eastwood’s Facebook page.

A total of £811 was spent on 11 adverts by former Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion’s Facebook page during the same period.

A breakdown of the SDLP and Sinn Féin adverts - all garden variety political statements in the run-up to a General Election - detail the range of money spent on each one.

It cost Mr. Eastwood less than £100 to promote a video on his Facebook profile featuring an endorsement from the well-known Bloody Sunday justice campaigner Mickey McKinney in the last two days of the election campaign, December 10-12, for example.

The content garnered between 2,000 and 3,000 page impressions and was shown to more men than women and to more older people than younger people.

A sponsored advert for Mrs. McCallion, featuring an endorsement from the footballer James McClean, that ran from November 20 to November 24 cost Sinn Féin Ireland between £100 and £199 to promote on the social media site.

It resulted in between 10,000 and 15,000 page impressions. Facebook’s analysis show the advert’s reach was greater among young people and men.

Mr. Eastwood and Mrs. McCallion were the only candidates in Foyle listed as having paid to promote content in Facebook over the past three months.

However, both the Alliance Party and the DUP were among the top ten organisations in the North to have spent money promoting ‘social issues, elections or politics’ since early November.

The Alliance Party spent £8,769 (£7,569 as the Alliance Party of NI and £1,186 as the Alliance Party) promoting over 100 adverts.

One of them pointed out that the party was running ‘50/50 male and female candidates across all 18 constituencies’ and featured its Foyle candidate Rachael Ferguson.

The advert ran from December 9 to December 12, was shown only to women, cost between £100 and £199, and resulted in between 10,000 and 15,000 page impressions, according to Facebook.

The DUP, meanwhile, spent £4,089 promoting dozens of political adverts across the North during the same time period.

The top ten spenders in the North between November 6 and February 3, were WWF UK (£15,243); Get Cross (£12,066); International Rescue Committee (£8,334); Alliance Party of NI (£7,252); Best For Britain (£6,371); Greenpeace UK (£6,289); Vote For Your Future (£5,056); DUP (£4,089); Amnesty International UK (£3,897); and the Electoral Commission UK (£3,440).