Although we’re still very early in the 2014 election season, campaigns have already begun to ramp up their digital activities. To get a glimpse at the current spending trends, we looked to Federal Election Commission data for 2014 Senate campaigns. Here’s what we found.

So far, $5,368,429 has been expended by U.S. Senate campaigns for purposes that include explicit references to digital communications. We conducted an electronic analysis of the most recently available FEC data and searched for terms like website, digital, online, e-mail, Internet, and social media. Of course, the real total may be higher since some expenses may be included in more generic descriptions (for example, it could simply be listed as “consulting” without characterizing the nature of the consulting).

How Digital Funds Were Spent

Here’s a rough breakdown of how those funds have been spent in various digital categories:

  • Digital Advertising – $1,546,537
  • Digital Consulting – $1,374,063
  • General Digital Purposes (non-specific) – $1,335,829
  • Website Expenses (Design, Development, Hosting) – $742,837
  • Email (List Rentals and Delivery) – $131,414
  • Fundraising – $115,979
  • Other – $112,829
  • Domain Names – $8,941

The Biggest Digital Spenders

Not surprisingly, candidates in special elections for this cycle were among those who spent the most on digital activities so far. You will also notice that some of the highest profile races also appear on this list:

CORY BOOKER FOR SENATE $790,663
GABRIEL GOMEZ FOR SENATE $451,394
AL FRANKEN FOR SENATE 2014 $401,845
TEXANS FOR SENATOR JOHN CORNYN INC $265,090
MARKEY COMMITTEE; THE $256,287
RUSH HOLT FOR SENATE $254,608
HAGAN FOR US SENATE INC $239,888
UDALL FOR US ALL $224,961
MCCONNELL SENATE COMMITTEE $199,079
ALASKANS FOR BEGICH 2014 $152,844
SCHATZ FOR SENATE $123,384
JEFF MERKLEY FOR OREGON $118,728
ALISON FOR KENTUCKY $118,338
ALEXANDER FOR SENATE 2014 INC $104,989
MATT BEVIN FOR SENATE INC $97,712
MARK PRYOR FOR US SENATE $87,171
TEAM GRAHAM INC $86,799
FRIENDS OF JIM INHOFE $85,264
UDALL FOR COLORADO $83,496
CHRIS COONS FOR DELAWARE $74,886
PETERS FOR MICHIGAN $64,190
HANABUSA FOR HAWAII $63,120
FRIENDS OF JEANNE SHAHEEN $61,733
COTTON FOR SENATE $57,693
FRIENDS OF DICK DURBIN $48,446

The Biggest Digital Vendors

Now that we know which Senate campaigns have been spending the most on digital activities, let’s look at which vendors have been the beneficiaries thus far:

WELL AND LIGHTHOUSE $1,146,679
TRILOGY INTERACTIVE $1,044,208
TARGETED VICTORY $473,359
RISING TIDE INTERACTIVE $261,999
UPSTREAM COMMUNICATIONS $260,157
MURPHY VOGEL ASKEW REILLY LLC $249,311
ANNE LEWIS STRATEGIES, LLC $164,895
CROWDVERB $126,000
MANDATE MEDIA, INC. $118,241
HARRIS MEDIA LLC $102,824
BLUE STATE DIGITAL $83,007
PUSH DIGITAL $67,616
COLD SPARK MEDIA $64,562
FACEBOOK $62,031
SWIFT CURRENT $51,630
CD, INC. $48,967
BOOKER TEAM FOR NEWARK 2014 $47,997
REVOLUTION MESSAGING LLC $47,000
GOOGLE $40,079
THE STONERIDGE GROUP, LLC $39,086
CLICK RAIN $38,811
CAMPAIGN SOLUTIONS $37,643
LIBERTY CONCEPTS $36,233
HSP DIRECT $33,150
NGP VAN $32,350

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that 2014 will see more digital investment than any previous election cycle. We’ll continue to keep an eye on these expenditures to see what we can learn.

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