Elections Quebec 2022 | The Liberal Party, the biggest spender on Facebook election ads

Political parties have adopted contradictory strategies on social networks since the start of the campaign. While the Liberal Party’s advertising spending has exploded in the last week on Facebook and Instagram, the Parti Québécois has invested virtually nothing on these two platforms. At the finish line, which approach will pay off the most?

In the last 30 days, Dominique Anglade’s party has invested nearly $200,000 in advertising on the two social networks, which puts the PLQ far ahead of other political parties. Even more impressive: these investments have been concentrated lately. The Liberals bought, between September 21 and 27, $144,000 worth of advertisements, twice as much as Québec solidaire and almost three times as much as the CAQ.

“Almost three-quarters of the money was spent in the last week, that’s astronomical! notes the professor of political communication at Laval University Thierry Giasson. There was clearly a turning point, which corresponds to the period following the second debate, where Dominique Anglade did very well. It was also at this time that Dominique Anglade began to say that from now on, we were going to see the real Dominica. We want to pick up the pace on the Liberal side and we wanted to seize this momentum. »

In addition to the party’s Instagram and, above all, Facebook pages, the Liberals are also relying on Dominique Anglade’s personal accounts to get their message across. Expenditures of more than $30,000 in the last few days have allowed the Liberal leader to get ahead of Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois when we draw up the balance sheet since the start of the campaign. As for the pages of François Legault, advertising investments were limited to a meager $8,680 in the last week, again according to data compiled by the Meta group (Facebook and Instagram). Quite a reversal compared to the pre-election campaign, when spending was not limited and the CAQ took the opportunity to flood Facebook with advertisements.

“I am not surprised for Dominique Anglade. The Liberal Party has a problem positioning itself on the political spectrum. Positioning on language is not clear, on the economy… The party no longer has a monopoly on federalism. The only thing left for him to stand out is the image of the chef. And that goes much better in social networks than in traditional media, ”notes Louis Aucoin, president of the Tesla RP public relations box.

Very targeted audience

That said, Dominique Anglade’s Facebook page accumulates much less investment than that of Éric Duhaime. The Conservatives have opted for a unique strategy during this campaign: they are betting everything on the presence of their leader on social networks, while not a cent has been spent on the official page of the party. “Commercials with the chef are more effective. We do not understand why the other parties do not do this, ”replied by email the director of communications of the Conservative Party of Quebec, Maxime Hupé.

More than 40% of users who have come across a conservative advertisement in the last week live in Quebec. Men aged 25 to 44 are also largely overrepresented in Éric Duhaime’s target audience, Meta data suggests.

Québec solidaire’s marketing is roughly oriented towards the same age group, without regard to gender, however. As for the CAQ, there is an effort to reach an older audience on Facebook. In the Liberal Party, a significant portion of the target audience lives in the southwest and west of Montreal. Moreover, the most viewed ad since the start of the campaign on Dominique Anglade’s personal page is in English.

“Facebook is a great tool for segmentation, and especially for micro-targeting. This allows the right messages to be conveyed to the right people. You can have a very accurate socio-demographic portrait of your target audience thanks to Facebook,” underlines Thierry Giasson.

Why then did the Parti Québécois deprive itself of this tool? In the last thirty days, the PQ has barely spent $252 on the account of its leader, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, and $1,000 on the party page. This is less than the very marginal Green Party and Canadian Party of Quebec.

The PQ indicates that it favored the traditional media for strategic reasons. « I don’t think it’s that crazy of them. They have a large community of activists, who are very involved and who share all their publications. What’s the point of paying to reach people who won’t vote for them? There are already activists who proselytize for free,” argues Louis Aucoin, who doubts that Facebook ads are as effective as they say.

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