Obama Online Ad Seems Aimed at General Election

Cross-posted on techPresident

The Obama campaign seems to have shifted at least some of its online ad buying towards a general election strategy, at least judging from the display ad below, which I saw on an article on Space.com:

Obama ad screenshot

Click for larger version

The ad campaign is being run through Google, so who knows what kind of targeting is involved (by topic? by publication? by reader geography?), but the goal seems clear once you click through to the landing page: long-term support-building. Even on a small screenshot, you can tell that there’s no immediate fundraising ask, only an invitation to sign up for “rallies and special events” — which means, join an email list:

Obama landing page screenshot

Click for larger version

Note the nice video introduction from Barack himself — they know their candidate’s strengths and are happy to use them. Only on the follow-on page (screenshot) do they ask for money, this time accompanied by a video montage of the candidate and supporters at a rally.

This strategy looks to be focused on the general election because its goal is long-term support-building rather than short-term persuasion or fundraising — the move of a candidate who’s willing to invest at least some online money in expanding the pool of supporters, volunteers and (ultimately) donors for the Fall rather than in trying to win Ohio and Texas in a couple of weeks. It’s also running on a nonpolitical publication, so you’ve got to wonder about the targeting. I checked the ad traffic listed for the two candidates in the Ad of the Day and don’t see any mention of this buy, so I’m now curious as to how we can track Google ad campaigns. A good question for today’s online advertising discussion.


Written by
Colin Delany
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  • The Media Trust says this exact creative on the banner, including the appeal, first appeared August 17, 2007, and has been appearing on blackamerica.com, politico.com ad other sites the last several weeks. Colin caught me napping today! Tracking Google ads has been a gap. The domain name Space.com could show renewed emphasis on network buying. The video traffic on the web site may well be evolving too – Ad of the Day has not been analyzing Obama’s site, just the ads, so I can’t be sure. I will get a post up later tonight with a fuller analysis.

  • Kate Kaye with Clickz made an excellent addition to the tPrez version of this article:

    Obama Buying on Ad Networks for Fundraising/Signups

    Like Read noticed, these ads have been around forever. In fact, the Obama campaign hasn’t run many new ad creatives in quite awhile. The goal with his online ads has pretty much exclusively been gathering signups and donations. I really haven’t seen any display ads from the campaign intended for persuasion. Though McCain (and during earlier primary season, Romney and Richardson) dabbled in persuasion using issue-based messaging, most of the display ads from the candidates have been used for those two more obvious reasons. Candidate campaigns for the most part still aren’t really sold on the idea of using Web ads for persuasion (much less using them at all).

    Also, ads from McCain, Obama and others throughout the season have shown up all over the Web on small sites and large because the campaigns are buying a lot through ad networks, targeting geographically and possibly demographically and/or behaviorally based on stuff viewed by a user previously.

    See ClickZ’s recent piece on how Obama’s January ads probably helped push his big January fundraising: http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3628500

    He ran 70 million impressions in January — that’s a lot relatively speaking. It topped the number of ad impressions from all the presidential campaigns in October and November — 65 million in each month, as tracked by Nielsen Online AdRelevance.

    Kate Kaye
    Editor, News and Campaign ’08
    ClickZ News