Democratic presidential candidate Barak Obama’s online organizing and fundraising successes are perhaps unprecedented. He’s also the query volume king, among the candidates. But how does he do as an online marketer? We might not know his CTRs or how his campaigns “convert” but now we know where he spent his money. According to US Federal Election Commission records, examined and parsed by ClickZ and further explored by PaidContent, Google has won the lion’s share of the candidate’s online spending.
Roughly 80 percent of Obama’s $3.5 million in online ad spending from January to April went to Google. Other than Google, ClickZ says that the Obama campaign spent money on “Yahoo search ads, payments to performance ad networks including Specific Media, Pulse360, Microsoft-owned DrivePM and AOL-owned Quigo also showed up in FEC filings.”
Pundits are projecting that up to $3 billion will be spent this cycle on political advertising. Globally, online represents about 8% of overall ad spending. If that were to play out in this election it would mean that online would see $240 million of that potential $3 billion. It would also mean that paid search should see about $98 million of that figure, based on its 41 percent share of all online advertising.
However it’s unlikely that online spending will go that high given that traditional media (especially TV) are still grabbing the bulk of political ad dollars. In this way the candidates are very much like large brand marketers who’ve yet to reallocate their ad spending in accordance with the behavior and preferences of their potential buyers — in this case the voters.