WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Be My Friend? D.C. Campaigns Take To Advertising On Social Media

D.C.'s mayoral candidates are making their way onto Facebook.

The District's mayoral candidates have plenty of campaign signs and newspaper ads, but many of the top contenders are also putting money into reaching new residents where they are most likely to be: on social media.

Mayoral contenders Jack Evans, Muriel Bowser, Tommy Wells, Andy Shallal, and Mayor Vincent Gray have all purchased ads on Facebook, as has Libertarian mayoral candidate Bruce Majors, D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), Ward 1 challenger Brianne Nadeau, and Democratic State Committee candidate Mike Panetta.

And while more candidates are now pushing their message on Facebook, the ad buys have generally been modest: Shallal has spent just over $250, for one.

The big outliers are Gray, who has put $30,000 into Facebook ads, and Evans, who has put over $6,700 into expanding his sponsored presence on the social network.

"Our social media program targets younger voters and explains the critical role Jack Evans has played in making D.C. the attractive destination it has become for young residents," says Jermaine House, Evans' campaign spokesman.

The move towards social media advertising is new in D.C. politics: in 2010 none of the mayoral candidates advertised on Facebook, and the most aggressive push came with Elissa Silverman's 2013 At-Large campaign. She says that advertising on Facebook provided a cost-effective way to reach new voters.

"Facebook was an opportunity to reach voters for less expense," she says. Mailers were effective for reliable voters, but expensive; Facebook allowed her to target residents who didn't vote regularly, as well as let supporters share content and drum up her candidacy. She narrowly lost a special election to incumbent Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large).

Wells and Evans have also purchased ads with Google, and Gray has placed campaign ads on YouTube videos, which is owned by Google. His re-election campaign also purchased ads on Google searches for Bowser, his principal competitor, which place a sponsored link to a website criticizing her for not having enough experience.

Wells is the only candidate to have purchased ads on Twitter, spending $50 to advertise on the micro-blogging site.

Correction: A prior version of this story said Gray only spent $500 on Facebook ads, but that was directly from his campaign. The majority of the ads were bought by a consultant.

NPR

Mislabeled As A Memoirist, Author Asks: Whose Work Gets To Be Journalism?

Suki Kim wrote Without You, There Is No Us after working undercover as a teacher in North Korea. She says the response to her book is also a response to her identity as Korean and a woman.
NPR

In Prison, The Passion That Drove A Yogurt-Maker To Arson Still Burns

The yogurt entrepreneur who set fire to his factory remains in prison, but he's in better spirits now. "He's dreaming again," says his wife.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - July 1, 2016

Kojo and Tom Sherwood chat with D.C. Transportation Director Leif Dormsjo and Virginia Del. Marcus Simon (D-Fairfax).

NPR

After Deadly Crash, Safety Officials Will Examine Tesla's Autopilot Mode

The fatal crash of a Model S that was in autopilot when it collided with a truck in Florida is prompting a preliminary evaluation of the feature by the National Highway Transportation Safety Board.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.