Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Obama Campaign Saw "Ridiculously" High ROI from Google Ads

BY Colin Delany | Wednesday, February 11 2009

Cross-posted at e.politics

Another tip from the Obama campaign: take a solid look at search advertising. At two recent public discussions, members of the winning 2008 new media team have mentioned the effectiveness of Google ads in building the campaign's list of supporters, volunteers and donors. Email team head Stephen Geer alluded to it in passing in a RootsCamp presentation, describing search advertising as having a "ridiculously" high Return On Investment as a list-builder. Joe Rospars talked significantly more at a second NOI-sponsored event last month, divulging that search and contextual ads (Google Ads) were the backbone of the campaign's online advertising outreach, and that a relatively straightforward strategy had been steadily and consistently effective.

Here's the real kicker: when compared with the cost of acquiring supporters via other channels, search advertising absolutely shone, with an ROI Rospars described as approaching 15:1. With contextual ads targeted primarily to sign up new supporters, the core of the campaign's strategy was the obvious "Barack Obama" search, though they did use some issue- and news-cycle-targeted keywords. The new media team bought display advertising significantly less than they did search ads, and focused the display piece of the puzzle more on measurable goals such as list-building than on amorphous "influence-the-discussion" ad runs.

The Obamans weren't the first in the political space to benefit from Google Ad-driven list-building, and they're absolutely not going to be the last. Not all electoral and advocacy campaigners will be as lucky as Rospars, who was a selling a rock star with a transformative public presence, so not everyone's mileage will be as good. And, the rest of us may need to branch out a bit in our use of creative search terms. But, carefully targeted search ads should be a tool high on the list for just about any political communicator.

More from members of the Obama campaign staff on the structure of the new media team, the importance of good content (particularly video) and the use of grassroots data in allocating resources in real-time.

cpd

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

GO

More