In a report released Wednesday, Google has provided details of election advertising on its platforms by Indian political parties, candidates and incumbent members of Lok Sabha. According to the ‘India Transparency Report’, 831 advertisements worth over Rs 3.76 crore have been published on Google, YouTube and other partner properties since February 19 this year.
As a political party, the BJP has paid the most amount of money for election advertising. The party has paid more than Rs 1.21 crore for 554 advertisements. The YSR Congress, listed second, has paid over Rs 1.04 crore for 107 ads.
However, two consultancy firms — Pramanya Strategy Consulting Private Limited and Digitant Consulting Pvt Ltd — combined have spent Rs 1.48 crore on 89 advertisements for the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh, the Telugu Desam Party led by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
The Congress is ranked sixth — it spent Rs 54,100 on 14 advertisements. All of the party’s ads pertain to “Rahul Gandhi’s promises” such as minimum guarantee income, increase in budget allocation for healthcare and education and women’s reservation, among other promises.
Most of BJP’s ads — videos and images — are for its national campaign ‘Main bhi Chowkidar’ and feature Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The duration of the videos range from seven to 45 seconds and the party spent between Rs 2,500 and Rs 2.5 lakh to advertise on Google’s platforms. The standalone images cost upwards from Rs 250. According to the report, several of BJP’s ads were taken down for violating Google’s ad policy.
The YSR Congress, meanwhile, has steadily increased its spending and pays between Rs 2,500 and Rs 1.25 lakh to advertise. While the BJP has published videos and images across languages, YSR’s campaign has been largely through images and in Telugu. YSR’s posters, featuring Jaganmohan Reddy, garners up to one million impressions.
TDP’s campaign, comprising images and videos, is primarily in Telugu. Several of its videos are on its housing scheme. Across parties, no specifics were provided by Google in terms of how many impressions the ads generated.
In terms of advertisements in states, the most amount of money has been spent in Andhra Pradesh (over Rs 1.73 crore) followed by Uttar Pradesh (over Rs 18 lakh) and Maharashtra (over Rs 17 lakh).
Parties have spent negligible amounts in Lakshadweep (Rs 300), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Rs 800), Daman and Diu (Rs 1,200) and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (Rs 1,300).
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Under Google’s policy, advertisers need to provide a pre-certificate issued by the Election Commission to run ads on its pages. The company, after verifying the advertiser, has also taken steps to disclose that the content is “paid for” across its platforms.