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Labor’s Facebook spend is far bigger than the Coalition’s — and it’s going negative

Labor is significantly outspending the Coalition on Facebook advertising, splurging on a national anti-Scott Morrison attack as the government tries to make the election about economic management, Facebook advertising data on the two major parties shows.

Facebook paid advertisements are one of the major ways that political parties can reach voters who aren’t engaged with their campaigns. 

So far, accounts belonging to the Labor Party, its MPs and candidates spent 45% more than their Coalition equivalents throughout most of the campaign, according to Facebook’s parent company Meta’s Ad Library data for accounts that have spent more than $5000 during the campaign. 

This data shows a divergence in strategy as the opposition’s spend has been primarily through its main party accounts, whereas more of the Coalition’s spend has been spread throughout accounts belonging to party individuals. These top individuals include Josh Frydenberg, Angus Taylor and Amanda Stoker, who all face stiff challenges for reelection — which might explain why Coalition spending has been spread out further.

Of the $2,084,148 spent by the Labor Party’s associated accounts, $1,264,636 has been through the main Australian Labor Party account. On the Coalition side, just $246,085 of the $1,381,946 has come through its biggest account, the Liberal Party of Australia.

In the lead-up to the election, both major parties competed to define Anthony Albanese in the eyes of voters. In the dying days of the campaign, both sides have retreated to comfortable messaging territory.

Labor’s top Facebook ads by spend all focus on Morrison. In the past week of data, the party has spent somewhere between $100,000 and $125,000 showing its “No More Morrison” video ad, skewing towards younger Facebook users in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Other top ads attack individual candidates such as Gladys Liu in Chisholm and Stephanie Asher in Corangamite by tying them to Morrison.

The Coalition’s top ads instead focus on attacking Labor’s economic credentials. Its top one highlights a headline in The Australian, “Confusion over Labor policy costings”, on the Liberal Party of Australia Facebook page, spending $10,000 to $15,000 to show it to younger voters primarily in Queensland, NSW and Western Australia. Other top advertisements tie Albanese to higher taxes and spruik its economic record.

And the major parties are primed to step the spending up. Labor has spent a third of its total campaign spend just in the past week on its main page ($658,023); the Coalition has stepped its up to $104,912 in the past week on the main Liberal Party page.