Before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) led the highest spending party spending on Google and its video-sharing app YouTube, accounting for almost a third of the total spending on the two platforms, according to the first political ad transparency report for India released by Google on Thursday.
Around ₹1.21 crore spent by BJP from ₹3.76 crore expended by political parties on ads published on Google and YouTube between 19 February and 4 April, said the report.
Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Telugu Desam Party and the main opposition YSR Congress Party and entities from neighbouring Telangana spent ₹2.48 crore on search giant Google and its other partner properties. Congress spent ₹54,100, placing 14 ads.
“This report reflects the amount of preparation and digital sophistication that now goes into elections. It is important to exploit the potential of digital penetration in India to reach a large section of potential voters. BJP has continued its digital dominance since the previous Lok Sabha elections. Regional parties now have given a digital push. I expect the ad spend to pick up just before each voting phase,” said BG Mahesh, who worked on digital political ad campaigns in 2014 and is now a digital ad expert.
In terms of geography as well, spending was concentrated on Andhra Pradesh (₹1.7 crore and Telangana (₹72.7 lakh). UP (₹18.47 lakh), Maharashtra (₹17.19 lakh) and Bihar ( ₹10.53 lakh) followed.
Online political ads on Facebook accounted for ₹10.32 crore in the period between February and March, according to the Facebook ad archive report. The BJP and its affiliates have spent an estimated ₹5 crore on Facebook so far, added the same report.