Parties will have to get creative about how they reach voters online this election, after Google on Monday said it was banning political ads on all its platforms when Canadians officially head to the polls.
The move will force political parties to rethink a sizable and growing portion of their advertising dollars.
Digital platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter now make up roughly half of political advertising expenditures, as parties use increasingly targeted messaging to reach voters.
“It’s a significant portion of any party’s advertising expenses,” said Dennis Matthews, who led advertising efforts under former prime minister Stephen Harper and Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
The Liberal Party spent $43 million to get Prime Minister Justin Trudeau elected in 2015, while the Harper Conservatives spent just under $42 million.
Google likely mopped up a large portion of that spending: the company accounted for roughly 48 per cent of all internet advertising in Canada in 2016, according to a report by the Canadian Media Concentration Project. Facebook accounted for 24 per cent.