Facebook Ad Library, the social media platform’s political transparency initiative has thrown up some interesting insights into the most active political advertisers during the current election season.
While the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party with its formidable online presence came an unsurprising first, on the second position was the homegrown ecommerce unicorn Flipkart. Beating Indian National Congress (INC) by a narrow margin, Flipkart spent INR 17.8 lakh ($25K) in running nine ad campaigns between April 28 and May 4.
In comparison, Indian National Congress, the country’s oldest political party spent INR 17 lakh ($24K). Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party spent a whopping INR 1 Cr ($145K) on 787 campaigns.
A little known Kanpur-based skincare brand, Venus Crème Bar, also featured in the top five grosser for political advertisements on Facebook last week, spending INR 6.5 Lakh and beating Arjun Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party.
Flipkart’s ads consisted of quizzes and video shorts promoting equality while saying, “This Election Day, let’s celebrate the biggest festival of equality! Because no matter who we are or what we do, in front of the ballot, we count as equals. Let’s celebrate Election Day as #EqualsDay”
This is in contrast to the previous week when Flipkart was the fourth in the list after BJP, INC and Naveen Patnaik. Flipkart had spent INR 6.5 lakh running 7 ad campaign in the week from April 21 to April 27.
According to Ad Library data, the total number of political advertisements which ran on Facebook and Instagram from February till May 4, are 103.7K and the total amount that has been spent till now is INR 22.8 Cr.
After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has been grappling with investigations from the US and the UK government. In December, Facebook brought in stricter control and transparency in political ads so that something like Cambridge Analytica does not happen in India.
As a part of its measures, Facebook has made it mandatory for a person placing the ad, to confirm their identity and location, along with the details of who is placing the ad. The Facebook Ad Library was rolled in the month of March in India. The library, earlier called Ad Archive, gives information such as who saw the ad and where it was targetted and what kind of campaigns were running.