Former VP Joe Biden is finding it difficult to multi-task. He has to manage his presidential campaign for 2020 and deal with the attacks that Trump is throwing in his direction about involvement with Ukraine. As such, Biden has scaled back his digital ad space considerably – and it’s affecting his campaign in a negative way.
Biden has already been slipping in the polls. Some of the most recent polls show that he’s now sitting at number three, with progressives Warren and Sanders in the lead. Now with the Trump attacks, his campaign could be in serious trouble.
Ad buys are happening among all of the top presidential candidates right now. It ensures that they get the face time that they need in front of more Democratic voters. Biden is slipping in the polls, too, so his ad buys have to be highly targeted to ensure that voters see him as a reliable and electable option within the primaries. The problem is that when his opponents are increasing their online presence, he’s scaling back.
Political strategists point to this as a major problem within Biden’s campaign. Senator Elizabeth Warren and many of the other candidates are outspending Biden. He’s not spending the money on Google or Facebook. Much of this has to do with Trump alleging that he pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was investigating a Ukrainian company where Biden’s son was employed.
Biden is still spending money on marketing, but it’s not helping him. His shift is toward TV ads in Iowa. The only problem is that it hasn’t given him the boost that he needs. Meanwhile, the strategists are trying to figure out what he’s doing.
One strategist tries to defend Biden, saying that he must not be getting the rate of return he needs on Facebook and Google. However, there are many other strategists who are a bit more critical.
Marne Pike, the chief executive for a particular digital strategy explains that it’s not looking good for his campaign. If people are searching for Biden and clicking on the ads, he would be getting the rate of return he’d want. As Pike says, it’s hard to imagine that no one is searching for Joe Biden in Google or Facebook.
When Joe Biden first entered the race in April, he was a big spender at $1.2 million out of the gate with Facebook and Google. Now, he’s ranked 16th for September among the presidential candidates in terms of spending. He only dropped $32,000 on Facebook in anticipation of the September debate.
The spending is considerably lower than that of the other top contenders. According to data collected strategists, he only spent $20,900 over the past six weeks on Google. Warren, however, spent 25 times that in the same period.
The Biden campaign has given everyone an excuse because they simply have no choice but to come up with something. They say that the digital ad busy are low because they’re going to be focusing on more traditional fundraising techniques. This is unlikely, however, considering Biden doesn’t want to do a lot of traveling. He said very early on that he doesn’t like crowds. He’s also been known to stumble and fall in his words when he takes on the large crowds. In order to avoid being made a mockery of, the digital ad buys are where he needs to be spending the money.
A Biden spokesman, TJ Ducklo, said that they have front-loaded their investment at the beginning in order to come in strong. The goal was to have a large digital spend at the beginning so that they could build their supporter lists. They accomplished this and outspent all of the other campaigns. They have also said that they’re planning a seven-figure ad buy at the end of 2019 in order to make sure that they get the eyes on the campaign.
Meanwhile, Trump’s digital campaign director, Gary Coby, explains that the Biden campaign is spending chump change. $1 million over the span of a quarter is nothing in comparison to the $2 million that Trump’s campaign last week alone with the impeachment inquiry officially happening. As the Dems go harder and harder on Trump, the president is prepared to fight back. He feels that this is all fuel that can be used towards his reelection campaign.
Biden’s lack of spending is obviously as a result of Trump’s inquiry into what the former VP really did in Ukraine. Promising to spend money in the fourth quarter of the year won’t matter if he’s out of the running by the end of the third quarter.