However, BJP has the highest number of ads running on Facebook in West Bengal.

New Delhi: With just weeks left for the Assembly elections to start, the digital ad spends of political parties are witnessing a sharp rise. West Bengal remains the top spender for digital ads by political parties across the country.

In Bengal, I-PAC, which is handling the election campaign and management for the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), has remained the top ad spender on Facebook for the last 90 days. Between December and March, I-PAC has spent about Rs 1,79,47,530 (one crore seventy-nine lakhs, forty-seven thousand five hundred thirty) for digital ads for the TMC on Facebook, leaving its top contender in the state, the BJP, far behind.

On the other hand, the BJP, over the last three months, has spent about Rs 58,44,525 (fifty-eight lakhs forty-four thousand, five hundred twenty-five) on digital ads it released on Facebook.

Another associate page of the TMC on Facebook, which is run by the name of “Khotikarok Modi”, has spent over Rs 31,27,746, bringing the total digital ad spent by TMC on Facebook running over Rs two crore, seventy-three lakh.

The BJP’s total ad expenditure on Facebook with all its associate pages are much below the TMC. The BJP has spent just a little over Rs 63 lakh in the last three months.

The TMC, which otherwise did not have much social media presence before the Prashant Kishor-led I-PAC took over their election campaigning in June 2019, has gained significant presence on social media over the past one-and-half years.

Soon after taking control of the campaigning for the TMC, I-PAC devised an aggressive social media campaign strategy for the party, ensuring that all the party’s MLAs, MPs and ministers have their active presence on social media, since it knows the importance of digital campaigns and the reach such campaigns have among the common electorate.

As per the Government of India’s data, Facebook has over 41 crore active users in India, while Twitter has around 1.75 crore active users in India and it is this audience’s attention that all the political parties generally rush in to tap during the election season.

The official TMC page on Facebook has 13,23,718 followers, while the BJP’s West Bengal page has about 17,58,931 followers.

The “Banglar Gorbo Mamata” page has over 2.7 million followers on Facebook.

However, in terms of the number of ads in the Facebook ad library, the BJP has the highest number of ads running on Facebook in West Bengal. The BJP has run a total of 3,456 ads through Facebook in the last 90 days. Some of the ads which have been run by the BJP on the social networking site include, “Aar Noi Annay”, “Amar Poribar BJP Poribar” and “modipara”.

The TMC’s political mentor I-PAC has run over 1,200 ads through Facebook. The I-PAC has primarily run ads through its page called “Banglar Gorbo Mamata”. The I-PAC had created Vidhan Sabha specific pages on Facebook with the name of the Vidhan Sabha followed by “Banglar Gorbo Mamata” to target specific audience.

The BJP’s large number of ads in the Facebook ad library suggests that the party has spent smaller amount of money on a large number of pages it has created on Facebook to target the ruling Trinamool Congress on specific issues, rather than concentrating on a general ad being run digitally.

However, looking at the ad spent data of the last one week, between 2-8 March, the TMC’s campaign manager I-PAC has moved far ahead of its competitors on Facebook ads. While the BJP has just spent around Rs 40,000 on its digital campaign for Bengal on Facebook, I-PAC has spent more than Rs 24 lakh on digital ads for the TMC during the same period.

The ad spent report released by Facebook also shows that the states going for election, like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Assam, are spending much more on Facebook ads than any other states in India.