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Digital campaigns prove effective

Amount spent in last presidential election consistent with votes
Aug 23,2017
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The Moon Jae-in camp spent 6.84 billion won ($6 million) on digital content during the 22-day official campaign season, the largest amount of any candidate, underscoring the increasing importance of appealing to young voters through digital media.

Following the Moon camp, Liberty Korea Party’s Hong Joon-pyo spent 5.76 billion won on digital content, followed by People’s Party Ahn Cheol-soo, who spent 5.65 billion won.

The investments paid off, too. The amount spent on digital platforms corresponded with the number of voters each candidate won in the May 9 snap election. Of the 6.84 billion won it spent on digital content, the Moon camp spent 5.3 billion won on online advertisements for the candidate while spending 300 million won on online content creation. The camp spent 1.1 billion won on sending emails, text messages and making calls asking voters to vote for Moon.

Moon spent 2.3 billion won on Naver, the country’s largest portal site, and another 2.2 billion won on Daum, the second largest.

In addition to running ads on portal sites, Moon’s campaign managers operated a YouTube channel and Facebook page. The Moon camp aired live YouTube content showing campaign rallies 118 times during the 22-day campaign. On average, each post received over 50,000 views.

The Moon campaign hit the digital jackpot on May 6, when a video clip showing then-candidate Moon doing a free hug event near Hongik University in Seoul drew more than 400,000 viewers. Recognizing the importance of communicating with the public through digital means, President Moon has been actively employing digital platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to champion his policy causes.

For instance, to mark his 100th day in office, the Blue House uploaded an 11-minute interview in which Moon gave an amicable interview, describing what he does after work and what has been his most memorable moment since taking office. The video, uploaded to the Blue House website and Facebook, has drawn 47,000 views over the past four days and has been shared 884 times as of Tuesday.

The Hong Joon-pyo camp spent 3.8 billion won on digital advertisements and 1.6 billion won on emails, text messages and phone calls. The Ahn camp of the People’s Party spent 3 billion won on online advertisements, 2.1 billion won on phone calls, emails and text messages and 400 million won on creating online content.

Offline, each camp spent most of their money on deploying campaign vehicles, most of which carried wide screens with loudspeakers.

The Moon camp spent 11.1 billion won running 310 trucks around the country. The LKP reported to the election watchdog that it spent 324 million won on campaign trucks, but the figure represents an expense paid for by the party headquarters only, excluding costs carried by the party’s regional branches, which could raise the total to several billions of won.

The Ahn camp spent 8.3 billion won on 280 campaign trucks.

The most expensive campaigning turned out to be giving televised speeches on major networks. A 20-minute speech cost 484 million won on state-funded KBS and 215 million won on MBC. The Moon camp spent 10.5 billion won on TV speeches while Ahn spent 9.9 billion won. LKP’s Hong spent 3 billion won.

BY CHAE YOON-KYUNG, KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]