YouTube is the channel that Donald Trump’s campaign team is betting on for this election.
During this campaign, Republicans have already spent over $65 million on YouTube and Google ads. In comparison, for Jon Biden’s campaign, Democrats have spent $33 million on the same platforms.
For the previous campaign, Trump’s team chose to use Facebook and managed to gain an advantage over Hillary Clinton, according to Politico.
Video shows work better on YouTube
YouTube offers a lot of visibility and options. So, Trump’s channel became a collection of news, ads and web shows. The team tested hundreds of short videos, but also posted news clips. Because of the increasing costs of the television advertising, the staff decided to go for Google’s video platform.
As Biden is ahead in the polls, the video channel seems to be the only chance for Trump. So, the team decided to allocate important resources to generate organic content. They host videos from supporters. This way, in august, the campaign posted almost 900 video, nine times more that Biden’s.
The strategy comes as the video channel’s algorithms recommend channels that regularly come with new content.
According to Eric Wilson, a veteran Republican digital operative, algorithms reward “the side that will produce more content.”
The video platform is the most appreciated online tool in the United States. More than 9 of 10 young Americans, age 18 to 29, use it. So, as YouTube became a more influential force, it is natural that strategists choose it.
Some Democrats consider this activity a cheap theater, while others think it is a good thing. But they emphasize that the investment comes from a position of weakness.
As the record unemployment and the huge number of Covid deaths favor Biden, Trump’s advisors try to keep supporters engaged with a positive narrative.
A “silver bullet”, or not?
Biden’s director of paid media mentioned that: “I don’t see that as a silver bullet,” said Patrick Bonsignore, Biden’s director of paid media. And he explained that they use videos to communicate to Trump’s base, not to expand it.
Still, the number of followers for the current president is the largest of any other American politician. It has grown from more than 300,000 subcribers to almost one million.
So, Biden’s team felt like they had to reply and used the platform for a conversation between Biden and Kamala Harris, with over 170,000 views. Also, they used Instagram and gained four million views, besides Hulu and Pandora.
“I feel really confident that our program is more in terms of the number of places that we’re running ads. That playbook is certainly not the whole game,” Bonsignore mentioned.
Still, Google began limiting the ability of political advertisers to target audiences, last year. So, they can only use age, gender and location. But they can’t use political affiliation or voter records.
On the other hand, this might be only the seen part of the campaign, as Google announced it makes easier for advertisers to capture leads with YouTube ads.
Though, Trump’s team reserved YouTube’s homepage for the Election Day.