Post on Orwell Bridge is most seen Facebook ad in Ipswich election battle
PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 December 2019
A Facebook post calling for highways bosses to tackle Orwell Bridge closures is the most viewed political advert on the social media site by Ipswich's would-be MPs this election
Data from Facebook ads shows the sponsored post by Labour's Sandy Martin gained 25-30,000 views - more than any other in the campaign so far.
Conservative candidate Tom Hunt's most viewed post calling for "tougher sentencing and a new funding formula for Suffolk police" gained 8-9,000 views.
Both candidates have used more sponsored posts than any other election hopeful in the region. They have become a common feature of this campaign, despite calls for a ban, with national parties spending millions trying to reach potential voters.
Ipswich Labour spent £2,417 on boosting Mr Martin's posts in the past year, including £149 in the latest week for which data is available. Some of Mr Hunt's posts were paid for by Westminster Digital - the agency behind Boris Johnson's leadership campaign.
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Although more than £2,600 has been spent on his sponsored posts in the past year, comparatively few were from recent weeks. Soon after the election was called, two sponsored posts announced Mr Hunt's candidacy. Several followed on election pledges, such as the NHS, policing and transport.
Mr Hunt said although Westminster Digital had helped with the campaign - the posts were funded by Ipswich Conservatives Association. He said social media had become an important tool, which he was keen to use alongside traditional campaigning methods.
"We have a budget for campaigning and some of that is spent on social media to ensure we're reaching as many people in Ipswich as possible," he added.
Mr Martin's sponsored posts have increased as the campaign has progressed, covering issues such as funding for schools, hospitals and the environment.
Ipswich Labour said it began using Facebook to reach voters ahead of the 2017 General Election - a strategy that it said attracted national recognition. A party spokesman said many of its unpaid for posts had also attracted large audiences. He said ads were useful as "we know they are reaching the intended elector".
The other Ipswich candidates are Barry Broom (Green) Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett (Lib Dem) and Nicola Thomas (Brexit Party).
None paid for Facebook adverts.