Television has long been considered the dominant medium for political advertising, and that’s mostly still true — spending on TV ads by campaigns and Super PACs this year alone is expected to reach $2.9 billion. However, campaigns are increasingly putting more of their advertising budget into the web — to the tune of seven times more than they spent online in 2008.
It’s a trend that was evident across the Internet during the Republican and Democratic National Convention. Over the past two weeks, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s campaigns waged digital warfare to get more eyeballs on their content — and their message. Along the way, they made every effort to out-innovate the other side through new ad features and creative placement.
Obama’s Online Efforts
The Obama campaign became the first to buy a massive frontpage ad on YouTube’s masthead that included a live embed of the president’s speech. YouTube masthead placements stay live for 24 hours and receive about 23 million views in the United States.
Obama’s team also embedded convention tweets into an ad on CNN; they also did complete online ad takeovers of Tampa and Charlotte-area newspapers during both conventions:
Romney’s Internet Ads
Meanwhile, the Romney campaign became the first presidential campaign to purchase a promoted trending topic on Twitter — #RomneyRyan2012 — and countered Obama’s full-page takeovers with web ads designed to use the president’s own ads against him (those “rebuttal” ads were changed a few hours after they appeared):
An outside conservative group and the Obama campaign later joined the Romney campaign by purchasing Twitter trending topics of their own, all to varying degrees of success. Nationwide Twitter trending topics cost about $120,000 each.
The Obama ads mentioned in this post in sum cost the campaign approximately $1 million; the Romney campaign hasn’t yet provided a figure.
Are you experiencing Obama and Romney’s battle for your eyeballs and ad clicks as you surf the web?