Obama Vs. McCain: Display Vs. Direct Response

The Wall Street Journal analyzes and compares the online marketing strategies, successes and weaknesses of the two US presidential candidates. McCain turns out to be the more savvy search marketer, while Obama does a better job at SEO and is investing more in online display advertising.

According to the WSJ:

In July, the McCain campaign had 15.1 million sponsored link impressions — the number of times that an ad is downloaded onto a computer screen — compared with the 1.2 million for the Obama campaign, according to Nielsen Online.

Sen. Obama, meanwhile, has chosen to focus online ad spending around display ads. The Obama campaign had 416.7 million image-based ad impressions, compared with Sen. McCain’s 16.5 million.

Not counting search, TNS Media Intelligence estimated that the candidates have spent $7 million in online advertising and $300 million on TV since February of 2007. That’s just over 2 percent of the TV spend online. (The overall candidate search spend is not a number I currently have.) Online ad spending, including search, is about 7 percent of total ad spending in the US.

query volumes last 30 days Picture 6

Obama has raised more money online via his website than McCain and has lead in overall search query volume for some time, though that lead — like the presidential race itself — is narrowing.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Search Ads: General


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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