On the day of the first Democratic presidential debate of the 2020 election, the Trump campaign bought an ad on YouTube’s masthead, some of the internet’s most expensive advertising real estate.
The digital media organization Acronym, which runs online campaign programs for Democratic candidates, estimated more people would see the ad, which appears on YouTube’s home page, than the debate itself.
Huge. ???? Ahead of the #DemDebate tonight, @realDonaldTrump purchased the Youtube masthead – one of the most expensive digital ad buys on the market. More people will see this ad placement than will watch tonight’s debate. pic.twitter.com/VKjNfdJgV4
— ACRONYM (@anotheracronym) June 26, 2019
Exactly how much the campaign spent hasn’t been revealed, but Vice News reports that the Democratic-aligned firm Bully Pulpit Interactive has spent between $500,000 and $1,000,000 on such ads. In 2015, Adweek reported that masthead ads usually cost a minimum of $300,000 to $400,000 per day, with prices soaring to twice those numbers on prime days like Super Bowl Sunday.
In February, YouTube announced it was giving advertisers more flexibility in buying masthead ads through a beta program, allowing them to pay per thousand viewers rather than on a flat per-day basis and customize which audiences would see the ad.
The company claims the ads are also effective: “Masthead ads have a significant impact on Ad Recall, with an average lift of 92%, and drive an average 46% lift in Purchase Intent,” YouTube claimed at the time.
The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry from Fast Company.
According to YouTube parent Google, the Trump campaign isn’t the first political campaign to buy YouTube masthead space. The company didn’t share details about the transaction but said details will be available in its political advertising transparency report as of next week.
It’s not the first time the Trump campaign bought out YouTube’s masthead, according to Acronym, which reported in January that the campaign bought the masthead out for an entire weekend day.