Very good article over in today's Wall Street Journal called Long Race Forces Ad Ingenuity. It includes a few quotes from Becki Donatelli on John McCain's search campaign and you can guess who runs it for Becki, ME. Here are some highlights for you:
- Republican John McCain's presidential campaign raises about $4 for every $1 it spends to raise money online, according to Rebecca Donatelli, a consultant directing the online fund-raising strategy for the Arizona senator.
- Most of the campaigns are now running ads on Google that appear when a user searches a particular word. Mr. McCain's campaign has been particularly aggressive on the search site, running text-ads pegged to some 2,500 words, including Mr. McCain's own name, the word "president," and the names of his main opponents. "I've become a search evangelist," says Ms. Donatelli.
- Mr. Romney is using Google search ads on a "couple hundred" words, according to Mindy Finn, director of online strategy for the Romney campaign. The words used by the campaign change every day based on what sort of response they see and the number of people who click through to the Romney Web site, she says. They've used words like "Olympics" (Mr. Romney is credited with saving the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games); "health care" (while governor, he pushed through an ambitious health-insurance plan in Massachusetts); and "cutting spending," to help drive traffic to the site, she says.
The reason I pulled those quotes was to highlight the differences between McCain's search strategy versus others and to show that we are very focused on raising donations via search. Search as I've written in the past and if you've ever met with me you know, that it should be your lowest cost ROI and politics is no different. It isn't that we don't care about traffic, but compared to other advertisers it is definitely secondary.
The other part of the article that was interesting was the focus on blog advertising instead of display advertising on news sites like Yahoo. I can see the love affair with advertising online versus the cost for similar TV spots, but I don't see why the WSJ didn't make the same comparison for more main stream news sites. Political blogs are awesome and they definitely cater to more politically attuned voters (and perhaps your primary voters), but you can appeal to a wider audience outside of the political blogosphere. Perhaps that's why Google is so successful; we are able to find the non-blog reading individual that is interested in politics at this early stage.
Well, that's about as far as I can go because any deeper I can get into some trouble. I'm happy that the WSJ picked up on our search campaign and spent the time to dig into it a little more than what the typical blog posts write about. So, the next time a blogger comments on McCain search ads running on their site you can now get an insight into why the ads appear there and you should know, that we most likely DID NOT directly target your audience.