The Trump impeachment issue is turning out to be a big cash cow for Facebook (FB). The Trump campaign ran more than 2,500 Facebook ads about impeachment in the first week of December alone, according to Reuters. How much exactly the campaign spent on those ads is not known. However, Facebook’s ads records show that the Trump campaign spent more than $800,000 on political ads across Facebook platforms between December 3 and December 9.
In September, the Trump campaign spent about $2.0 million on Facebook ads discussing impeachment in the space of just one week. Pro-Trump groups have also been spending big on Facebook ads.
Trump’s social media political ad spending
Apart from the impeachment topic, Trump generally leads 2020 presidential candidates in Facebook political ad spending. Trump has spent $16.9 million on Facebook political ads this year. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have each spent a little over $5.0 million on Facebook political ads in 2019. Joe Biden and Mike Bloomberg have spent $3.4 million and $2.5 million on Facebook ads this year, respectively. Bloomberg entered the 2020 presidential race last month and his bid could be a huge boost to Facebook’s ad business.
Mark Zuckerberg’s meeting with Trump
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and President Donald Trump held a private meeting at the White House in October. In an interview with CBS early this month, Zuckerberg declined to share the details of his discussion with Trump. Trump previously met Zuckerberg at the White House in September and announced it.
Facebook critics have claimed that the company entered into a secret pact with Trump, possibly a deal about helping Trump’s reelection campaign.
Facebook’s political ad business under fire
Facebook has come under fire lately over its decision not to check the accuracy of political ads on its platform. Pressure has been building on Facebook after its peers Twitter (TWTR) and Google (GOOGL) moved to restrict political ads on their platforms. Twitter, specifically, has generally banned political ads. Google still accepts political ads but doesn’t allow narrow targeting.
Facebook expects political ads to contribute about 0.5% of its revenue in 2020. The company is expected to report revenue of $70.5 billion in 2019. Assuming Facebook maintains that level of revenue next year, then that would mean it is looking at over $350 million in political ad sales in 2020.