The campaign’s single largest expense was for Internet advertising: Mr. Obama spent $4.3 million on Web ads in January, about as much as some of the Republican candidates raised.
Also note the following:
Mr. Obama had a payroll in January of close to $3 million, including payroll taxes, suggesting the large campaign staff that is already working around the country to lay the groundwork for his re-election.
What are those ads doing? Recruiting donors and volunteers. What are all those staff members doing? Well, lots of things, but raising money and organizing volunteers are likely at the top of their lists. I’ll say it again and again: online organizing is typically an incremental process that rewards sustained effort. Spending money to build his list and organize its members nine months before election day? The best investment Obama could make, and a good recipe for a 2008 repeat.