Online advertising expenditure by political parties is likely to double to Rs 400-500 crore this Lok Sabha election compared to 2014, riding on the growing smartphone penetration and cheaper Internet packs, experts said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leads the pack in advertising spend in the digital space, they said.
"The total advertising expenditure on election campaigns could be between Rs 2,500-3,000 crore in the 2019 general elections," said Ashish Bhasin, CEO- Greater South, Dentsu Aegis Network.
Of this, ad spends on the social media and other digital platforms could be around Rs 500 crore, Bhasin, who is also the company's chairman and CEO-India, told PTI.
Bhasin said the overall expenditure also includes the manpower cost for campaigning, but not the spends on advertising government schemes and programmes.
Another advertising professional said the budget of political parties for online promotion is growing exponentially with a surge in smartphone sales in the last five years, and cut-throat competition among telecom operators to offer cheap data packs.
He added that there are separate estimates for constituency-specific advertising in some of the regions.
According to Google's Political Advertising Transparency Report, the total spend on its various digital segments surpassed Rs 86,311,600 since February 19 this year.
A similar report by Facebook showed such expenditure at Rs 121,845,456 for 61,248 ads.
The 2019 general election is being held in seven phases across the country, from April 11 to May 19. The results will be announced on May 23.