(KRQE) – $18 million has been spent on political advertisements since January featuring a 2020 presidential candidate on Google’s flagship search engine, YouTube and other Google partners. This is according to Google’s Political Advertising Transparency Reports that are updated weekly.   

Advertisers can buy Google ads to last one day or several months, but some 2020 candidates and political organizations chose to shower potential voters with new ads every day during the week of the first and second Democratic debates.  

These charts measure advertisers’ digital ads on Google by how many new ads are published on a given day and provide a weekly total for debate week. It does not reflect the number of total ads the advertiser already has on Google before this date. By measuring political ads this way, time-sensitive trends begin to appear.  

The First Debate 

Click on the interactive to explore advertising data for the first Democratic debate. (link for mobile users)  

By far, the most prolific Google advertisers this debate cycle were two republican entities. The first was President Donald Trump, with 462 digital ads. Trump bought almost $470,000 in Google ads this week alone, making it the second-largest purchase in the race so far. The second entity, the “Trump Make America Great Again Committee,” is a joint fundraising committee composed of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee. It ranked high with 442 ads during the week of the first Democratic debate.  

Per Google’s data, Trump’s presidential campaign seems to prefer images and videos as opposed to text advertisements. This appears to pay off as the president is one of two candidates whose ad impressions (views) reached more than 10 million for a few ads.   

The only other candidate who reached more than 10 million Google impressions during the week of the first debate was Bernie Sanders, also with a video campaign. This is despite Sanders being the ninth biggest advertisers on Google this week by only buying 30 ads and spending more money on Facebook.  

Trump was the leader among Google spenders and bought five video advertisements that broke 10 million impressions as compared to Sanders’ one video.   

Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang has been steadily rising in popularity since making his political debut to many voters during this debate.  

Yang’s presidential committee made sure voters remembered him by pushing out 240 Google during the week of the first debate after remaining relatively dormant, making him the third top political advertiser on Google for this week.  

The Second Debate 

Click on the interactive to explore advertising data for the second Democratic debate. (link for mobile users) 

Data for the second debate portrayed a more complex Democratic primary and more political action committees (PACs) becoming involved. According to Google’s data from this week, the five most prolific advertisers were the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren. Trump’s flagship committee alone spiked its number of ads by more than 100 on the second day of debates.  

The conservative Americans for Tax Reform PAC made a considerable effort to reach online users during the first day of debate – pushing out 63 Google ads thanking Trump and Congressional Republicans for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  

There was also a new presence of climate change activism – though limited with only eight ads – with the liberal-leaning Act on Climate Now PAC. This policy area was missing from Google’s political advertising line-up among PACs and political organizations during the first debate.   

What to look for at the third debate  

The next debate will take place on September 12, 2019, and will air on ABC and Univision. Ten Democrats met the criteria to participate: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang. It will be the first time the three highest polling contenders – Biden, Sanders, and Warren – will be on stage together.   

Making the debate required candidates to attract both 2% support in four qualifying national or early-state polls released between June 28 and August 28 and collect contributions from 130,000 unique donors (including at least 400 individual donors in at least 20 states).  

Click on the interactive to explore how candidates qualified. (link for mobile users)

Stay with KRQE for digital spending analytics of the third debate.