Social media spending should not be a priority

Today The Sun wrote up a little bit of research undertaken by the TPA on social media spending by central government.

Our research found that advertising on social media can be very expensive, in fact almost £2 million was spent on promoted Twitter and Facebook posts in a three year period.

The highest spend was by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spending almost £650,000 between 2012-13 and 2014-15 followed by the Cabinet Office which spent close to £400,000.

£1.6 million was spent on Facebook advertising and around £300,000 on Twitter and the balance was made up by spending on Youtube and other platforms. Perhaps most worryingly the spend has risen from £582,000 in 2012-13 to almost £800,000 in 2014-15.

Obviously it is important that the government communicates with the public but it’s not as if this was impossible before the age of social media. And of course a great deal of social media activity is free to use so there is really no excuse to spend so much money.

Besides this, there are some in central government who like to complain about the cost of responding to freedom of information requests, yet departments are happy to splurge on social media. I think it is fairly clear which taxpayers value more and any cost cutting exercise should certainly look at advertising before transparency.

Our Chief Executive, Jonathan Isaby, said: “Taxpayers will be astonished that their hard-earned cash has been squandered on pricey Facebook and Twitter ads. Times are tough and every single penny must go on essential services for hard-pressed families.”

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