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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Obama Campaign Opens Vault for Google Ads

When a certain kind of data is really close to your heart and mind, you'd like to think that some leading indicators are just too blatant to dismiss.

To date, "Internet-inflated" political campaigns have often had that easily punctured quality to them. What turned out to be niche candidates had disproportionately strong donor bases and loyalties through cliquish but still impressive online channels. They got puffed up a bit in the early going, then proved to be paper dragons in the end.

The field is fast evolving, however. Top candidates today are employing real online marketing tactics to boost already solid campaigns, pushing themselves over the top with savvy, controlled, and tightly measured spending of campaign funds on the ads that we here know and love so well: paid search and contextual ads.

ClickZ News is reporting that the Barack Obama campaign spent a cool $1.7 million on Google ads in February alone.

I'll also go out on a limb and take this as a leading indicator for an Obama victory in November. It just doesn't seem that much different for me from customer acquisition in retail and B2B. Companies that are already strong, who add this targeted channel to their mix and pursue it aggressively before their competitors catch on, tend to pull away from the others. It isn't magic.

The only roadblock I see that could prevent this from happening would be a low turnout among youth voters. And by youth, I mean the entire 18-44 demographic that is currently most impacted by the online ad strategy. With unprecedented turnout in this demographic, Obama would win in a cakewalk. Without it, he could actually lose to McCain.

Hard to say what impact the wildly popular "Obama Girl" videos might be having on the candidates' fortunes, but again, if you compare what is happening -- and what *can* happen -- for McCain or Clinton at least in this social media realm... well... this Obama thing feels like a movement; yes, as some have stated, on a par with JFK (or PET for you Canadian viewers).

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




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