Conservatives Copy Leave.EU Tactic Of A Huge Final Facebook Push

If The Telegraph is right, we should be just about coming to the end of a Facebook advertising frenzy from the Conservative Party.

With no Twitter advertising allowed, Facebook -- and to a lesser extent, YouTube -- remain the platform of choice for the parties seeking to get in to Number 10 after tomorrow's election.

The newspaper explains that Boris appears to be following the advice of Dominic Cummings, the lynchpin behind the Leave.EU campaign, who left it to the last 72 hours to flood social media with advertising. The theory was that what marketers would call brand awareness and even consideration work taking place for a month before the referendum counted for little compared to the last three days when people truly made up their minds.

The idea is that there is only so much a party can do with wavering voters three or four weeks before the big day.

The clever money is usually spent in the last couple of days seeking to convince someone as they are making up their mind and will then have less time to listen to counter arguments. Hit them with a compelling message about your campaign and sew a seed of doubt about the other guys at the last hour and it is likely to be more effective than if delivered a month before.

Back to the figures for a moment. If you were to ask the person in the street who has been spending the most on social media advertising in the election so far, most would probably guess the Conservatives or maybe Labour. The truth is that Labour and the Liberal Democrats are nearly neck and neck, with GBP178,000 and GBP175,000 spent so far.

The Conservatives have spent, up until the end of last week, nearly GBP100,000 less. 

The Telegraph then points out that just as with the Leave.EU campaign, that would appear to be changing as Boris unleashes a blitz that saw the daily average spend on Facebook ads leap sevenfold in one day over the weekend.

It won't be clear until after the election exactly how much the Conservatives have spent this week compared to the one before, but the tactic seems clear. 

Most of the spending this week is believed to have gone back to the key message about "Get Brexit Done." This is particularly true in Labour seats in the north and midlands where the electorate voted Leave three years ago. Labour MP, Ed Milliband, for example, has been on the receiving end of a surge of Facebook ads reminding his constituents that he voted to prevent Brexit a number of times. 

By the end of tomorrow we'll get an idea of whether this has worked and will then know for sure Friday when all the votes have been counted and the final result declared. 

However, will it all be fair? That really is another question entirely.

The Coalition for Reform in Political Advertising is suggesting that it will not. It claims that nearly nine in ten voters think reform is needed and it is suggesting a new law that will mean politicians are legally bound to tell the truth. The group has complied a list of dodgy ads with the Liberal Democrats ahead with eleven questionable claims in social media advertising, and the Conservatives in second place with 10. Most of the concern is with unsubstantiated claims. 

Perhaps the reason that the Conservatives are in second place on the league of fibbing ads is because of a relative lack of activity until this week.

One fact-checking service, First Draft News, told The Independent it believes that nearly nine in ten Conservative ads have so far been inaccurate. So the party could yet climb up the league table to be the biggest fibbers in time for Thursday's election. 

So there you have it a nutshell. The Conservatives appear to be blitzing social media in the final days of campaigning, and that very same channel is being called out by an independent body for being abuse with half-truths and outright fibs.

It is probably no coincidence that this is because Facebook is on the record for admitting it will not check political ads and the ASA has no power over any form of political advertising. 

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