Investigation shows how municipality spent large on Facebook ads

A news story published this week by the Chatham Voice reveals the degree to which the Municipality of Chatham-Kent spent a large portion of its advertising budget on Facebook ads.

According to the story, Chatham-Kent’s Community Attraction and Promotion division spent $11,756 on Facebook ads for its tourism department from March 2020 to the end of the year. Municipal departments in total spent more than $35,000.

The sad irony is all of this is the fact that the tourism department was encouraging local residents to get out and safely experience the municipality safely during the pandemic.

Bruce Corcoran, general manager of the Chatham Voice, believes the municipality could have reached more by spending those Facebook dollars with local media.

Chatham-Kent’s four locally owned independent print publications, The Chatham Voice, Thamesville Herald, Blenheim News Tribune, and Ridgetown Independent collectively received $6,541.03 in tourism spending.

Legally, municipalities must advertise public notices (i.e. public tenders) into their local papers, a source of revenue for the independents. Wright said the Association of Ontario Municipalities (AMO) is currently pushing to change legislation so they can make their public notices via social media only.

The Chatham Voice by Jenna Cocullo – The municipality’s Facebook spending habit