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Here's what Leo has spent on social media campaigns over the last year

Around €6,500 was spent advertising Ireland’s Rugby World Cup bid on social media.

1809 National Economic Dialogue_90516210 (1) Source: Leah Farrell

IRELAND’S RUGBY WORLD Cup bid, Healthy Ireland and Budget 2018 adverts were the three campaigns that the government spent the most money promoting on social media.

In response to a query put to him by Labour leader Brendan Howlin, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar gave a breakdown of the costs, and the numbers of people they reached on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The most amount of money that was spent in 2017 was on the promotion of Ireland’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup, which France eventually won. It cost the government €6,500 to promote on Facebook and YouTube, gathering 905,733 and 272,907 “hits” respectively.

The second greatest amount was on the Healthy Ireland campaign, which is the government’s plan to improve the Irish public’s health and wellbeing. The promotion of that campaign is continuing into 2018, and has cots €4,999.31 to date. A total of €16,605 has been spent on this campaign, meaning over a quarter of the total spend has been on social media promotion.

The third greatest amount of money was €3,520 – spent on promoting Budget 2018, which was the first Budget with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe at the helm. The Budget introduction campaign attracted 140,890 hits on Facebook and 158,000 hits on YouTube.

Other campaigns that were promoted on social media by the government include the Back to School campaign (€2,600), Treatment Benefits (€2,100) and Bliain na Gaeilge (€1,358.48) which were promoted across a number of platforms.

Varadkar said that there was no spend on social media in 2016, when Enda Kenny was Taoiseach.

LEO SPEAKS ON CRISIS 758A9761_90530316 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in a pair of eye-catching socks at the #FemFest in Liberty Hall last November. Source: Eamonn Farrell via

In early November, the Taoiseach said that “a key part of the modernisation of government communications is the greater use of social media”.

He added:

Recent initiatives in my department, such as videos relating to Ireland’s Rugby World Cup bid, information about going back to school, the Budget and treatment benefits cost approximately €21,895 in total.

“Sponsored posts appeared on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Targeting for these was broadly based to ‘all adults’,” he said.

Other Departments

The spend of government departments on social media varies widely.

In November, the Department of Social Protection said its Communications and Customer Services Unit (which manages the Department’s official social media accounts) spent €1857.30 on in-house training of staff in how to use and manage social media.

On social media advertising spend, the department said:

The Department uses social media advertising – specifically Facebook and Twitter ads – as an effective method of targeting key audiences as part of a campaign’s overall media strategy, where appropriate.

“For example, social media advertising formed a key part of our recent Paternity Benefit
advertising campaign and delivered strong cost-effective ‘reach’ as part of the overall media buying strategy.

“All Department advertising is purchased through the Office of Government Procurement’s Purchasing Framework for “Media Strategy, Planning & Buying (advertising).”

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment told that it had spent nothing on Twitter ads, workshops, or other professional social media advice in the past year at that department.

The Department of Finance has its own Twitter policy, which can be found here, and said that it spent €94.40 (including VAT) on Twitter in 2017 for promoting the European Financial Forum and the Department’s Switch Your Bank awareness campaign.

The Department of Education also has its own Twitter policy, adding that the Department “has not incurred any expenses in relation to any social media advertising”.

Read: ‘A distraction’: Review will look at abolishing the Strategic Communications Unit

Read: Politicians are (slowly) taking to Instagram – and showing different sides

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