The staggering sum of money political parties spent on social media ads during the election campaign can finally be revealed.
New research has revealed the staggering amount political parties spent on social media advertising in the final two months of the federal election, along with the biggest ad spenders before the polls closed.
The Australia Institute tracked ads run by political parties and candidates in the campaign’s final months, with 608 political pages producing 26,945 ads all up.
A total of $12.5 million was spent to run these ads across Facebook and Instagram.
Labor spent the most – at least $5 million – in the final two months, 62 per cent higher than the Liberal Party’s $3 million splurge.
The Coalition’s total spend was a combined $3.5 million – 28 per cent of the total spending on political ads.
The seat of Kooyong, formerly held by then-treasurer Josh Frydenberg, had the highest spend of any division, with candidates dishing out $339,450 on social media ads.
Frydenberg would go on to lose the seat to independent Monique Ryan.
An analysis of individual candidate pages found UAP founder Clive Palmer dumped $462,500 on ads, severely outspending his rivals.
Josh Frydenberg followed at $219,400 while Labor leader Anthony Albanese was third on $197,450.
A key exit poll on election day found 86 per cent of voters supported truth laws being in place before the next election.
Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director of the Australia Institute, said the research underscores the need for truth in political advertising laws.
“Disturbingly, misinformation and disinformation were widespread during the election, with 73 per cent of voters reporting exposure to misleading political advertising, and 43 per cent of those saying they saw this “once a day or more often,” she said.
“It’s perfectly legal to lie in a political ad in Australia and it shouldn’t be.”
The report found Labor and the Greens also had substantially more engagement with women online, engaging female voters to a higher degree than the Coalition’s 50-50 split.
Originally published as Research reveals massive figures parties spent on social media ads in election’s final months