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What Facebook adverts are parties paying for in Norfolk’s marginal seats?

PUBLISHED: 09:04 09 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:33 09 December 2019

How political parties in Norfolk marginal seats are using ads on Facebook ahead of the election. Picture: Facebook

How political parties in Norfolk marginal seats are using ads on Facebook ahead of the election. Picture: Facebook

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Labour has stepped up its advertising in a crucial marginal Norfolk seat, spending five times more than the Conservatives on Facebook ads.

Norfolk election candidates using Facebook ads to target voters online - clockwise from top right: Duncan Baker (North Norfolk Conservatives), Karen Ward (North Norfolk Lib Dems), Karen Davis (Norwich North Labour), Chloe Smith (Norwich North Conservatives). Picture: ArchantNorfolk election candidates using Facebook ads to target voters online - clockwise from top right: Duncan Baker (North Norfolk Conservatives), Karen Ward (North Norfolk Lib Dems), Karen Davis (Norwich North Labour), Chloe Smith (Norwich North Conservatives). Picture: Archant

In a final push for votes ahead of Thursday's election, Norwich North's Labour candidate has been targeting voters on social media to sway the vote from the Conservatives, spending more than £500 last week.

Norwich North is the fifth most targeted constituency by the Labour Party, according to data by campaign group Who Targets Me.

Conservative rival Chloe Smith, meanwhile, spent less than £100 last week, Facebook data shows.

In North Norfolk, another marginal, candidates have been putting out Facebook adverts promising a new Wetherspoons and better parking.

-Norwich North

Labour candidate Karen Davis has paid for the most adverts so far, with 15 sponsored posts since the election was announced.

Ms Davis also had the highest total spend, at £2,721 in the last 12 months of which £528 was spent in one week.

Her opponent Chloe Smith, however, has posted just three adverts on her Facebook page.

How political parties in Norfolk marginal seats are using ads on Facebook ahead of the election. Picture: FacebookHow political parties in Norfolk marginal seats are using ads on Facebook ahead of the election. Picture: Facebook

Ms Smith held on to the seat in the 2017 election with a slim majority of 507 votes - making it the most marginal seat in Norfolk.

A major poll by YouGov suggests another Tory win in Norwich North, predicting a 47.2pc share of the vote compared to 40pc for Ms Davis.

On Facebook, Ms Davis has used a broad brush to target the many, with adverts spread across all age groups.

One sponsored post, a video persuading people "not to waste votes on Lib Dem and Green", appeared three times with different wording and demographic targets.

How political parties in Norfolk marginal seats are using ads on Facebook ahead of the election. Picture: FacebookHow political parties in Norfolk marginal seats are using ads on Facebook ahead of the election. Picture: Facebook

The most expensive ad paid for by Karen Davis was a video reminding viewers to use their postal vote - it cost £500-£599 and was watched 20,000-25,000 times.

A Labour Party spokesman said: "Use of social media is an important aspect of every campaign, elections are no exception.

"However, the focus of our campaigning activity is and remains the conversations we have face to face with voters."

For Ms Smith, one sponsored post on her Facebook page - a video of her encouraging viewers to vote Tory - was seen 15,000-20,000 times and was mainly targeted at younger voters aged between 18-34.

Her two other adverts released on Thursday, one of which promises 50,000 nurses, were also aimed at younger people.

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Her adverts were paid for by Norwich Conservatives, with a total spend of £596 in a year and less than £100 in the past week.

Ms Smith said: "I, and Norwich Conservatives, use social media at election time and year-round to listen to people, and help people be informed.

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"Especially in such an unusual December election, when it's dark outside, we can't always chat to people in person as much as usual, so social media is more important than ever."

There were no Facebook adverts locally for the Green Party, Liberal Democrat or UKIP in Norwich North.

MORE: Chloe Smith's face superimposed over child and teacher in bizarre election GIF

-North Norfolk

How political parties in Norfolk marginal seats are using ads on Facebook ahead of the election. Picture: FacebookHow political parties in Norfolk marginal seats are using ads on Facebook ahead of the election. Picture: Facebook

After long-standing former Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb stood down, the North Norfolk seat has become a key focus this election.

A YouGov poll suggests the Conservative Party candidate Duncan Baker could swoop to power, beating the Lib Dem's Karen Ward.

But both candidates have not been big spenders on Facebook, with Mr Baker's adverts totalling £135 and Ms Ward £167 since October 2018.

In the past week, both have spent less than £100 with the social media company.

One of his adverts promised a new Wetherspoons in North Walsham - but it had fewer than 1,000 views on Facebook.

Other adverts stated Mr Baker would deliver better parking in Stalham high street and Sheringham Primary School, and a new ambulance station in Wells and Holkham.

Mr Baker said social media was vital to help the party shape its policies.

Ms Ward, meanwhile, has had 10 election adverts posted on her Facebook page, paid for by the North Norfolk and Great Yarmouth Liberal Democrats.

How political parties in Norfolk marginal seats are using ads on Facebook ahead of the election. Picture: FacebookHow political parties in Norfolk marginal seats are using ads on Facebook ahead of the election. Picture: Facebook

While her adverts have been spread across all age groups, one post encouraging people for donations was targeted at only women in the age groups between 18-64, and men aged 65 and over.

One paid-for video of Norman Lamb endorsing Ms Ward was posted twice - both were aimed mainly at voters aged over 65, with combined views of 11,000-12,000.

Elsewhere, the Labour Party has paid for two election adverts on the Great Yarmouth Labour Facebook page, costing less than £100 each.

One advert aimed at 90pc women aged 55 and over highlights Labour's plans to compensate 1950s women affected by an increase in the state pension age.

An advert appeared on the Great Yarmouth Labour Facebook page paid for by the Labour Party. Picture: FacebookAn advert appeared on the Great Yarmouth Labour Facebook page paid for by the Labour Party. Picture: Facebook

According to Who Targets Me, the Brexit Party has been targeting more Facebook adverts in South Norfolk than anywhere else in the UK, despite not having a candidate campaigning for that seat.

The campaign group also found Broadland had the fourth most paid-for adverts by the Labour Party, with an average of 2.2 adverts seen by users.


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