Editors' pick: Originally published Oct. 6.
As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton grapple for votes among an increasingly polarized electorate, Facebook (FB) , Alphabet (GOOGL) , Twitter (TWTR) and others are devising new tools to help candidates build lists of email addresses, raise funds, persuade voters to change their minds on an issue or a candidate and to get out the vote.
As social media helps candidates target and persuade voters, it is taking a greater proportion of political advertising spending.
In the beginning stages of the campaign, Twitter head of political ad sales Jenna Golden said, the candidates used social media ads to acquire data or dollars. "How can they use our advertising to target people who will submit an email address or will donate?" she said.
But the emphasis has shifted in the last month or two, she said, with the candidates using their social media ads to try to persuade voters on issues. "They are focused on bigger opportunities like video and rally changing somebody's mind in the midst of a debate for example," Golden said.
Social media makes up a relatively small but growing piece of the roughly $11.7 billion in political advertising that Borrell Associates expects for the current cycle. Borrell forecasts $573 million in social media advertising in this campaign, out of total digital spending of $1.2 billion. Political advertising on social media has risen about 10 fold since 2012, when spending totaled about $54 million.