Simple reason Trump will win in 2020
If Donald Trump wins re-election for another presidential term in 2020, this graph will probably have a lot to do with it.
The Trump campaign, and its supporting groups, are spending more money on targeted Facebook ads than all of his Democratic challengers combined.
It's still very early days (even for a US election) and not all the challengers have officially announced their intention to run for the White House yet. But data compiled by Axios shows just how much of a headstart the US president has in this increasingly crucial area.
In less than two-and-a-half months, from December 30 to March 10, Donald Trump affiliated groups spent $4.5 million (AUD $6.2 million) on digital ads. Most of that was spent on targeted Facebook messages, with about a quarter on ads on Google owned services.
After facing intense criticism about a lack of transparency around political ads on its platform following the last US federal election, Facebook now has an online tool that allows users search all the political ads running on the site.
When you search the word "Trump", more than 50,000 results turn up which appear to be paid for by pro-Trump organisations.
Barack Obama was praised by many for his effective and shrewd use of social media during his run to the White House more than a decade ago. It was a strategy that the Trump campaign took to a whole other level in 2016 - and clearly they think it's a winning one.
A political advertising strategists who spoke to Axios said this level of ad spend on digital platforms so early in the campaign season was unprecedented.
Meanwhile a former Facebook employee who helped build the company's early ad-targeting systems remarked at the commodification of politicians on social media.
"The political world is now caught up with the commercial world, and politicians are now sold as efficiently as shoes," he wrote on Twitter.
Somewhat ironically, the second biggest spender on Facebook ads in recent months is Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren. One of her central campaign messages so far has been a commitment to break up the big tech companies including, Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple.