UK campaign analysis: 19th-25th June

In the final push, Parties are spending more than ever on Meta.

Spend on the platform is at its highest yet since the campaign began. In the 19 – 25 June period, weekly spend was £1,313,442: outperforming even the first two-weeks of the campaign, when more than £1M was spent each week. As we enter the final few days of election campaigning, we anticipate we’ll see spending reach its highest level yet, as parties increase their effort in a bid to persuade undecided last-minute voters, as well as to maximise turnout — and to get out and cast their ballot.


Reform UK’s spend increases + key targets

The standout spend pattern of the week is undoubtedly Reform UK, who have increased their advertising on Meta the most dramatically — increasing budgets by £157,810 (or 424%). While this increase is small relative to what Labour and the Conservatives are spending on Meta (£430,803 and £348,456 respectively), it reveals their aggressive strategy to persuade and scoop up any last-minute votes in the final push to 4th July. They are appear to be taking a concerted focus — spending £500+ in 20 key constituencies, with key locales they are heavily targeting include Doncaster North, Barnsley North and South, Blackpool North and South (source: WhoTargetsMe constituency spend map data)


Labour is spending heavily, but their share of spend is decreasing as others ramp up

Labour has consistently been the top ad buyer through the campaign, and has so far been responsible for 46% of all political ad spend on Meta since 22nd May. However, despite their strong levels of spending, we have seen their share of spending steadily decrease on the platform as the campaign has progressed. While in the first week their share was 63%, other parties subsequently activated and increased their own paid media campaigns, and Labour’s level of spending (although strong) has not been sufficient to maintain overall market dominance. Last week, the other parties increased their Meta spend by £371,693, meaning that Labour’s increase of £101,832 was insufficient to maintain their share of voice on the platform. In particular, Reform UK’s spend rose faster than Labour’s (+£157,810), as did the Conservatives’ (+£125,608). 


Jeremy Hunt: admits Labour’s going to win & isn’t targeting most of his constituency

There are 4 active political adverts that mention Jeremy Hunt on Meta. Of these, only one is being run by Jeremy Hunt himself — and the other three are ‘challenger’ ads, by other candidates who are either directly going head-to-head with Hunt or undermining him: 

  • The Labour Party is running an advert, via one of their candidates, Alex Ballinger, that criticizes Hunt for pledging to reduce taxes, then hiking them.
  • The Liberal Democrats are running an advert, via Paul Follows, their candidate for Godalming & Ash, in which they highlight “it’s incredibly close” between Hunt and Follows.
  • Reform UK is running an advert, via one of their candidates, Malcolm Tullett, that cites a MRP poll which predicts Reform UK will win 18 seats and that Jeremy Hunt will be one of the displaced MPs.

In Jeremy Hunt’s advert, he admits that Labour is on track to win the election, saying: „If the polls are right, Labour is going to get an enormous majority“. His stance is one of a defensive position — he says „We need to hold a future Labour Government to account: stop them raising taxes, make sure we have controls on immigration“ and goes on to say the Liberal Democrats, who are a close contender in Godalming & Ash, are unlikely the ones to do that as “they support Labour in nearly all policies”. 

The advert then goes on to seed the Conservative messaging, we have been seeing time and again, that uses ‘attack ad’ messaging:

The advert, which was launched on 27 June, has not secured a high level of spend, with only £600-£699 recorded (as of ~2PM on 30 June). The ad has an estimated audience of 5-10K, which at best is a 15% share of the 71.4K constituency population. Inversely, Follows’ ad (despite spending a lower amount) has a much larger audience size of 50-100K, suggesting the Lib Dems are targeting a much wider share of the constituency.


Liz Truss: has no active ads, since August 2022, and is a popular butt of jokes for other candidates

There are 88 active political adverts that mention Liz Truss on Meta, but Truss herself has no adverts running right now. Nor has she, since Aug 2022, underlining how the Conservative Party do not in any way want to use her as a ‘face’ for campaigning. 

It is no surprise that Truss is currently silent, as she has become an ‘attack narrative’ through the campaign — with other parties frequently quoting her disastrous mini budget, which crashed the economy. This is a narrative that can be seen in the ads of many candidates, who consistently use Truss as a device to undermine the Tories as a party, and various Conservative MP candidates (whose endorsement of Truss is often cited, as a tactic to undermine confidence in their decision making):


Gillian Keegan: Securing endorsements by prominent voices

There are 8 active political adverts that mention Gillian Keegan on Meta, of which 5 are being run by Keegan’s own ad account (and the other 3 being run via ad accounts belonging to Conservative candidates Pauline Jorgensen and Jane MacBean).

Keegan’s adverts include:

  • A policy ad with a focus on sewage discharge: in the advert, Keegan outlines her plan for water — including £56m of infrastructure upgrades.
  • Endorsements, by other politicians
    • David Cameron endorsing her as the candidate for Chichester — in the advert, he says: „Having worked alongside Gillian Keegan in Cabinet, I’ve seen what a force she is. Whether it’s her drive to make sure our nation’s children get the best possible education, or her championing of Chichester at the heart of government“.
    • Rory Stewart endorsing her as the candidate, also — „Gillian Keegan is somebody who’s impressed me so much in parliament. She was a great colleague: she’s kind, she’s patient, she has huge experience in business, but most importantly of all, she’s principled“
  • Town Hall discussions: Information about her upcoming ‘town hall’ (hustings) meetings.
  • Reform UK attack ads: Keegan’s attack ad, on Reform UK, is particularly interesting, as it shows the Conservatives are concerned about people voting for Farage’s party and splitting the ‘Tory’ vote. Reform UK has not spent any funds in Chichester at all so far on Paid Social.

While there are no ‚attack ads‘ on Keegan currently running, Keegan is helping other Conservative MPs — appearing, for example, in videos with: Jane MacBean (who’s running for Bishop Aukland) and Pauline Jorgensen (who’s running for Earley & Woodley) to discuss education policy


Grant Shapps: Fighting a local rearguard, while endorsing others

There are 14 active political adverts that mention Grant Shapps on Meta, of which 9 are being run by Shapps‘ own ad account.

Shapps’ adverts include:

  • A call to stop Labour getting a supermajority: similar to Jeremy Hunt, who called for people to vote him to stop Labour securing a landslide, in one of his adverts, Shapps says: „Some say there will be a massive, perhaps even supermajority, for Keir Starmer — but it doesn’t have to be that way”
    • In the video, Shapps says that Labour will enact “extra taxes on your job” which (given Labour’s pledge not tax working people) could be considered fake-news and misinformation
  • Live Q&A: promoting a Facebook Live in which residents can ask questions
  • Education & safety: Shapps’ adverts range from promoting hyper-granular commitments, to double glaze the windows of a local primary school, to improving the safety of the A1000 road to protect students (and squirrels!)
  • Political endorsements: An endorsement by Boris Johnson, in which Johnson says: „He’s been a fantastic colleague, friend — and of course, a great, great local MP, wonderful secretary of state for defense“

Particular focus should be given to Shapps’ ad which says Starmer will “put extra taxes on your job”: potential misinformation given Labour’s commitment to not raise tax on ‘working people’. 

Like Gillian Keegan, Shapps is also helping other Conservative candidates in their own campaigns — offering ‘joint-messages’ to put more trust in their campaign. We have seen Shapps endorse various candidates, following a particular template (the language is almost identical):