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Bloomberg Spent More Than $1 Million On That Barrage Of Instagram Memes

Topline: The much-discussed Bloomberg political ad campaign that employed around 30 different influencers to create Instagram memes delivered a lot of hype for little money, according to experts who spoke with Forbes, who estimate that it cost between $1 million and $1.5 million. 

  • For the ads, Bloomberg hired Meme 2020, a new company created by some of the biggest names behind Instagram’s most followed meme accounts, including @tank.sinatra, Doing Things Media and Jerry Media, the company behind @FuckJerry.
  • A typical Instagram influencer with 1 million followers charges at least $10,000 per post, according to influencer marketing agency Mediakix, while outfits with bigger followings like Jerry Media have a starting rate of $50,000 per post
  • But “sponsored political posts bring higher risk, since there’s a chance that people could unfollow their favorite meme pages if they disagree with political content,” says Vickie Segar, founder of Village Marketing. 
  • That means, according to Mediakix CEO and founder Evan Asano, “politicians will be paying a premium to the typical rates”—probably between $30,000 and $50,000 per post for Bloomberg, according to Segar and Asano. 
  • Factoring in a couple hundred thousand dollars in agency fees, Forbes calculates that Bloomberg paid between $1 million and $1.5 million for the entire round of 30 Instagram advertisements. That number could go higher depending on whether Bloomberg has signed package deals for more sponsored posts, sources say.
  • The Bloomberg campaign would not comment on that estimate. 

Big number: Overall, some 60 million people follow the accounts collaborating with Bloomberg and the Meme 2020 campaign, according to The New York Times, which was first to cover the campaign

Crucial quote: “It’s a very big missed opportunity for the other candidates,” according to Segar. “What Bloomberg did here was a nontraditional approach, where he was able to leverage a mass audience and generate press on top of that.” 

Chief critics: Other  influencers. While some praised the satirical and humanizing nature of the posts, others denounced it as an unfair use of wealth to get votes. And some accounts abstained from partnering with Bloomberg, including Joshua Ostrovsky, who runs the 11 million-strong account @thefatjewish. He said he had declined, based on Bloomberg’s political record. 

Tangent: Bloomberg is also offering smaller social media influencers $150 each to create content in support of his campaign, through branded-content marketplace Tribe, The Daily Beast reported last week

Key background: Bloomberg’s Instagram meme campaign comes at a time when the Democratic presidential hopeful has been heavily spending on advertisements, focusing his resources toward the March 3, 2020, Super Tuesday primaries. Bloomberg has spent more than $8 million over just the past week on Facebook ads, according to Facebook data. (That amounts to ten times more than Trump’s campaign has spent in the same period on the platform, and a little less than what Bloomberg likely leaves on top of the bureau when he empties his pockets at bedtime.) Overall, Bloomberg has spent over $350 million in his bid to win the White House—with over $250 million spent on TV and radio ads alone, including a $10 million Super Bowl ad. He has promised to shell out $1 billion to defeat Trump in November—still a relative pittance for Bloomberg, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $62 billion. 

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