While having meetings in Crystal City a savvy sales person (don't get excited that doesn't mean I will cut a deal with you) sent me a link to the latest Kate Kaye article on ClickZ called Clinton Needed More Search: Q&A with Google's Greenberger. As always you can read the article for yourself but here are my highlights and then commentary.
- He argues savvy search advertising contributed to the success of both Barack Obama's and John McCain's primary season wins by helping them build supporter lists.
- Through sponsored links in search results, the McCain and Obama camps have driven users seeking information on the candidates to their official Web sites to register for newsletters, volunteer or to donate money.
- The McCain campaign was the savviest among the Republican presidential primary campaigns. We think it's not a coincidence that the two savviest primary campaigns with Google are the winning ones.
- Even in the darkest days of the [McCain] campaign... they never stopped spending on Google AdWords... There were times, corresponding to the political polls, when maybe interest waned in his campaign, but he was ready to capture interest.
- We saw the use of video and I would highlight the McCain campaign for being ahead of the curve on that...
OK, so why did Peter (and I agree with him) believe that Clinton needed more search? Pretty simple. People look for almost an infinite amount of keyword combinations and no matter how savvy you are at SEO you can't possibly optimize for those combinations let alone direct people into new or updated landing pages. For example, if you were trying to get people to sign a petition for a summer gas tax holiday perhaps you'd buy keywords to send searches into your page instead of either a) letting someone else steal your message or b) letting the searchers fend for themselves via the organic listing. Notice how the page itself isn't listed on the first page of organic results. You need a paid search campaign for that.
#1 is correct, but I'd add in that we get $3 - $4 in donations for every $1 we spend online. It just isn't about building lists and capturing searchers; we balance generating money for the campaign with other activities. As Peter said we were ahead of the other campaigns when it came to using using video advertising and while I like to pat myself on the back for that, some times when you have a great TV/media team and when you have money challenges, you do what you can for the limited dollars you have. That meant click to play video ads on the internet.
The article that Kate mentioned (darkest days) includes quotes from me about our online advertising just when the campaign was switching the team around. I gave that interview in Crystal City that week and I told Kate that the campaign was more charged than ever and it wasn't doom and gloom. We just had to focus on the early primary states and focus on the Senator. During that week I was just formulating ideas for how to approach the primary states and hinted as much in the interview "Whether he's buying keywords specifically to counteract the negative press and commentary about the campaign, however, he wouldn't say specifically. "There is a strategy that I'm' working on….I wouldn't call it trying to counteract negativity," he said" I can't tell you exactly what we did because that was just a warm-up act for the big show. BTW - we are in the midst of a new approach right now.
Anyway, I thought the article by Kate was very insightful and Peter Greenberger was pretty much on the money with his interview. One of the things that amazes me is how far we've come since I started with Connell Donatelli 30+ months ago. I've met a lot of great people and I'm getting the chance to work on a Presidential Campaign which was unfathomable a few years back. It still amazes me today to see how many people are now working on the campaign. And it all started because my Yahoo account executive Adrienne Skinner set up a lunch meeting with Becki Donatelli in the summer of 2004. I still can't believe that I actually do this for a living.