When you pop open your web browser every morning and open up Pajiba or any of your other favorite liberal rags to get started on the day’s #hottakes or bedwet about the latest polls (ohshitohshitohshit), you might wonder why that validating anti-Donald Trump post you keep reading is littered with ads for Donald Trump. I probably receive a tweet or an email every day from someone either laughing or raising their eyebrows because they keep stumbling upon Trump ads on a decidedly anti-Trump website.
Are there subliminal messages in those ads? Is there something in your web history that suggests that you might unconsciously prefer the Trump/Pence ticket? Are we trolling you?
No. It’s none of the above. The truth is, the Donald Trump campaign is just really, really bad at web advertising.
But wait, you might be asking: Didn’t the Trump campaign tout that it collected $12 million in small donations in August? That’s pretty impressive, right?
No, not if you knew what Donald Trump spent to earn that $12 million.
Most of you probably know how web advertising works. Ad networks, like Google’s Adsense and Facebook, give advertisers all sorts of cool tools that enable advertisers to specifically target the exact right readers for their message. In fact, if you wanted to, you could run an ad and target it to so many specific demographics that you could effectively reduce the ad’s reach to exactly one person. If your boyfriend, for instance, lives in Portland, Maine, grew up in Arkansas, loves the Arkansas Razorbacks, went to BU law school, and is between the ages of 35 and 44, you could target all those criteria and basically only reach me. It would be a terrible way to propose to someone, but it could be done through a Facebook ad that a reader would take days or maybe weeks to finally notice.
Anyway, it appears that the Donald Trump campaign doesn’t effectively use these tools, because yes, while Donald Trump did raise $12 million in August from small donors, it spent $11.1 million to raise that money, which is an unprecedented burn rate. It’s basically the equivalent of a minimum wage working earning $300 a week but spending $200 for childcare, and $50 a week on a car payment and gas to get to work, which effectively nets out $50 for 40 hours of work, or $1.25 an hour.
All of which is to say, Donald Trump runs his campaign like he would run the country: So ineffectively that he’d spend resources to elicit a contribution from a man who loathes him, like former Mexico President Vincente Fox.
On the bright side, one of the reasons that Clinton can run more television commercials than Trump is because she has so much more money on hand, so think of the Trump ads you occasionally see on the site this way: Trump is wasting his money on them, money he can’t use to air ads against his opponent.
In other words, you are doing a service to America by visiting Pajiba.