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» Exclusive Interviews, Google Adwords » Exclusive Interview with Google’s Peter Greenberger, Team Manager of Elections and Issue Advocacy

Exclusive Interview with Google’s Peter Greenberger, Team Manager of Elections and Issue Advocacy

Semgeek is proud to present an Exclusive Interview with Google’s Top Political Online Marketing GoTo Guy, Peter D. Greenberger, who’s been at the forefront of Google’s Online Advertising for the 2008 Presidential and Congressional Races. 

Question:  How are candidates using Display Advertising?
Answer: The candidates’ use of display advertising has evolved over the different phases of the campaign. During the primaries, political advertisers targeted display ads featuring information on voting locations and procedures to specific states. Now that we are in the general election, persuasion phase of the race, the candidates are more likely to use display for educating voters on certain issues or policy stances. By placing banner or video ads on a variety of non-political websites, the campaigns can get in front of those hard-to-reach voters who may not visit news and politics sites.

Question: What do you expect to see at the local level races?
Answer: We are already seeing a trickle down effect from the high profile use of Internet advertising by the presidential campaigns. For the first time, all of the major presidential candidates used Google search, and now we are seeing an increasing number of congressional, gubernatorial and even local races enter the platform. The ability to target specific areas and even legislative districts helps down-ballot candidates efficiently reach only their voters.

Local candidates are using Google search and display ads in the same way as the presidential campaigns: to sign up supporters, encourage contributions, define their campaigns (and those of their opponents), and to persuade voters to support their campaigns. As we near Election Day, the strategies will shift towards GOTV – driving voters not to a website but to the polls.

Question: What do you think is the most interesting trend or trends you have seen over this past election year?
Answer: Overall, the rise of the Internet as a persuasion medium is the most interesting trend in 2008. It is no secret that the Internet is a great way to raise money, but now campaigns are turning online to persuade voters. This is very similar to the larger shift occurring in corporate America – direct response dollars have already moved online and now branding budgets are beginning to shift, too. This cycle will be remembered as the year in which political ad dollars began to move, albeit slowly, online. The spectacular growth of YouTube and online videos in general have a lot to do with this phenomenon.

Question: In your opinion, what does the future look like for Presidential and Non-Presidential races?

Answer: To a great extent, we are seeing the future of presidential campaigns right now. Many of
the campaigns made their candidate announcements online, Internet donations have filled the coffers of leading candidates, and social networking sites and YouTube have played decisive roles this election cycle. As a result, the digital team is emerging from the bowels of the organization to take a leading role. Smart campaigns will soon not even have a strictly "digital team;" instead the entire campaign will be Internet-savvy and fully integrated online.


Question: Will the recent Google & Yahoo relationship play a role in Yahoo’s emergence as the premier advertising network for Political Candidates?

Answer: Google and Yahoo will continue to be vigorous competitors, and that competition will help fuel innovation that is good for users, advertisers, and publishers. For additional information about this deal, please see our blog post entitled "Congressional hearings on online competition and our ad agreement with Yahoo".

Question: Are you seeing an increase in Rich Media Ads vs. Traditional Static Banners?

Answer: We’re seeing an increase in video ads as well as flash, though static banners and text ads still dominate. As campaigns become more comfortable in the online space, I expect that we will see more experimentation with different ad formats.

Question: Are there certain political parties who are more likely to spend more on Display or Search?

Answer: There is less of a distinction between parties than between individual campaigns and candidates. Both sides of the aisle have adapted search and display advertising with Google, and there are many savvy players in each party.

Question: Are you seeing any trends within the different Google Networks (ie. Placement, Content, Search)

Answer: Campaign strategies online correspond to the different phases of the campaign. Search is primarily a direct response mechanism and is effective at capturing the support of active voters looking for information. It is a campaign truism that your first vote is the cheapest and your last vote is the most expensive. Search helps make that first vote very, very cheap – as the campaign goes on, however, your cost per acquisition may rise as you move beyond your base of voters. When it is time to persuade undecideds, display or video ads on the content network are a great way to reach specific pockets of voters where they "live" online. Campaigns will contextually place an ad about energy policy, for example, alongside an article on a website in the Google network about higher gasoline prices. This allows the campaign to make its case directly to interested readers. For the final GOTV phase, I expect you will see a deluge of both search and display – both contextually targeted by issue and placement on specific sites.

Question: Does Google have a plan about possibly implementing a filter to stop Negative Campaigning, similar to what Newspapers with Op-ed’s are doing?

Answer: In general, we permit political advertisers to advocate in favor of or in opposition to candidates for office and key public policy issues. However, we prohibit the use of personal  attacks. You can find a more complete explanation of our political advertising policies on our Google public policy blog.


About Peter D. Greenberger
Team Manager, Elections & Issue Advocacy, Google, Inc. 

Peter joined Google in May 2007 to build and manage a new Elections & Issue Advocacy sales team dedicated to introducing Google solutions to political campaigns, committees, and issue advocacy groups.

Previously, Peter grew the public affairs division of New Media Strategies, a Web 2.0 marketing firm, working with clients such as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Discovery Networks, Ford Motor Company, the Granholm for Governor campaign, Merck, Inc., Wachovia, the Washington Redskins, and XM Satellite Radio.

Prior to joining New Media Strategies, Peter spent ten years working on presidential, gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and Congressional campaigns. Most recently, he managed Congressman Brad Carson’s 2004 United States Senate campaign in Oklahoma. 

During the Clinton Administration, Peter worked in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs as the Director of Congressional Correspondence.  In this role, he coordinated all written communications between the White House and the Congress.      

Peter graduated from Yale University and earned a master’s degree with distinction in Comparative Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science.  

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One Response to "Exclusive Interview with Google’s Peter Greenberger, Team Manager of Elections and Issue Advocacy"

  1. More than Google advertising, candidates are now using socail media like Twitter and Facebook

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