Conservatives halt digital ad campaigns after daily spend plunged

The disappearance of social media advertising comes as Rishi Sunak faces heavy criticism for missing D-Day events

Andrew Griffin
Friday 07 June 2024 13:44
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(Getty Images)

The Conservative Party has paused its digital advertising on major platforms, having spent tens of thousands of pounds a day in the early period of the election.

The party has halted all its campaigns on Google and Meta platforms – which include YouTube, Facebook and Instagram – in a move that may suggest the party is changing its political strategy ahead of the general election on 4 July.

As of 7 June, the Conservatives are not spending to promote adverts, according to the tech companies’ transparency platforms.

At the end of May, spending peaked, with the party paying out £100,000 in just one day, according to Who Tracks Me, a group that monitors online political advertising.

The Conservative Party has not responded to a request for comment on the advertising pause.

It comes as Mr Sunak faces considerable criticism for his decision to return to the campaign trail before the end of the D-Day commemoration events in France, which were attended by other world leaders.

Rishi Sunak spoke in Portsmouth for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, before facing criticism for missing some events in France. (Neil Hall/PA)
Rishi Sunak spoke in Portsmouth for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, before facing criticism for missing some events in France. (Neil Hall/PA) (PA Wire)

The Conservative Party was previously using Facebook, in particular, to push its campaigns, many of which attacked Labour.

It has reduced its spending on digital advertising in recent days. Earlier this week, the party was running very few adverts on Facebook – two attacking Sir Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, with another about state pensions – and it had stopped spending on Google and YouTube.

On Facebook, adverts focused on a range of issues, including accusing the Labour leader of wanting to abolish the monarchy.

The most prominent adverts on Google and YouTube attacked Sir Keir over small boats, with claims he had “no plan” being seen millions of times.

The party also promoted messages attacking Reform UK, with one suggesting a vote for Nigel Farage’s party meant a vote for Sir Keir.

It remains unclear when, or whether, new campaigns will be launched.

Both Meta and Google run ad transparency platforms which enable the public to see details of advertising political parties and other organisations are buying.

Labour continues to spend heavily on adverts, many of which show former Conservative voters explaining why they have switched party.

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