How are Online Ads shaping the 2024 UK Election? 

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                                                                                                                  By Cameron Forbes                                                                                                                            Digital Marketing Specialist 

Parties in the 2024 UK General Election are leveraging digital advertising now more than ever, with the main parties already spending tens of thousands of pounds on digital advertising across Google and Meta.

Gone are the days of relying on political party broadcasts and leaflets through letterboxes, today voters can be targeted on a granular level that 20th century election strategists could only have dreamed of. But are UK political parties taking full advantage of this? 

In terms of ad spend by party, Labour and the Conservatives, as to be expected, are the two biggest spenders. So far however, Labour have invested far more in online campaigning than the Conservatives. In the first week of the campaign, Labour outspent their opponents by approximately £300k on both Google and Meta Ads.  

Unlike previous elections, TikTok is emerging as a key channel in the 2024 election.

So far, Labour’s approach has been to create rapid-reaction content which has generated millions of likes, whereas the Conservatives have taken the more traditional approach of having senior figures speak directly to the camera.

This would be more suitable for a televised broadcast, whereas Labour’s short-form content approach is more suited to TikTok.  

Labour have also managed to use Google Ads keyword targeting to their advantage. A Conservative political party broadcast instructed viewers to search for ‘Labour tax rises document’ to drive clicks on their PDF document. They had optimised this page so that it would organically rank first on Google search results.

However, Labour was already targeting that search term with their own ads, which meant that the first search result users would see would have been a link to Labour’s own tax policy page. As a result of this, the Conservatives could have lost out on a sizable amount of traffic and engagement.  

person using laptop to search on google

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There is a lot to learn from the above points, especially around how important it is to get digital marketing right to keep ahead of your competitors.  

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