N-VA and Vlaams Belang spend by far the most on online advertisements, according to a graph in the newspaper. Nearly 1.5 million euros and almost 1.4 million euros respectively flowed from those parties to Meta in the ten months of this year. PVDA/PTB (662,722 euros), Open VLD (303,173 euros), Vooruit (290,626 euros) and CD&V (272,828 euros) followed at a distance. Groen (199,367 euros), MR (114,640 euros) and Les Engagés (110,036 euros) remained below the twenty thousand euro mark. Ecolo (53,460 euros), PS (36,605 euros) and DéFi (12,451 euros) spent the least on online advertisements.
In the last three months, Vlaams Belang and the N-VA spent 345,000 and 334,000 euros respectively on advertisements on Facebook. By comparison, Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis in the United States, with a voter market more than 50 times larger, spent 480,000 and 350,000 euros out of their own pockets in the same period, according to figures from the international research collective WhoTargetsMe. “If the trend continues, we can expect enormous expenditure on social media advertisements from the Flemish parties,” says political scientist Gunther Vanden Eynde (KU Leuven), who conducts research into online campaigning, in the newspaper.
In addition to the amount that the parties pay to Meta, there is also what they spend on advertisements on Google (and its subsidiary YouTube), De Tijd points out. That is good for 1.3 million euros since March 2019. Aided by Belgian party financing, the Flemish parties have been among the largest spenders in Europe and worldwide for years, even in non-campaign time, the newspaper states.