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Paid Search and What To Expect In The Next Political Cycle


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Since our eyes and ears have gotten a well needed vacation from the Presidential Elections back in November, for some in the industry, it's time to start thinking about the new political races and how to best leverage what was learned with regard to Paid Search Marketing in particular. This topic is not only important to talk about for those who are involved in the political world, but also millions of others who are simply fascinated by what President Barack Obama's campaign did last cycle. Let's discuss shall we…..

In a previous post on SemGeek entitled "McCain and Republicans Turn To Paid Search To Influence Voters", I spoke about the power PPC has as a main "influencer" to raise money, volunteer or just to continue the conversation. One of the biggest "shining moments" of paid search marketing, came when the campaigns quickly and effectively used Google as a platform to counteract and/or react to the rest of the media.

For example, here are just some of the strategies where paid search made a difference.

  • Defense against negative campaign attacks
  • Defense about leaks within each of the campaigns.
  • Became a online behavioral barometer of the public on specific issues.
  • Constantly identified what was popular in the online community (search volumes)
  • Used as a tool to advocate certain issues that were raised in campaign and media.
  • Used as a AD testing tool to determine which language is best associated with public.

Paid Search and Politics: It's all about timing:
Probably the most effective part of paid search is the ability for a quick turnaround. In the spirit of Journalism and news agencies, timing is everything, and when a candidate is in the news or attacked on the campaign trail, people are going to search about it online, the more people start seeing an PPC Ad directing them to go to the website for more information or a statement from the candidate, the better it is for everyone, especially the campaign.

Since the Internet has become the source of the continued conversation from other media such as TV and Radio, support from paid search, from a online strategy perspective is a no brainer. Now, even though we have identified that timing is key to an PPC strategy, there is one major concern and that is messaging the correct message.

Paid Search and Politics: Get the Messaging Right
It's very easy to throw a campaign on Google and make a splash right out of the gate. However, in Political campaigns, it's very easy to get the messages crossed where an opinion or statement can be taken out of context or is just not aligned with other statements from other staff members. In paid search, this lack of communication and/or discipline can be devastating.

Since the Internet has become a breeding ground for information gathering, it allows opponents or their campaigns to obtain any misconceptions or simply "misleading" statements to their advtange. Even though the majority of the campaign's media spends is still being use for TV, Radio and Print, the Internet has become the "SUPER POWER" for more real-time influence and the ability to persuade and continue the conversation.

In conclusion:
No matter what political party you may belong to, Obama and some others set a new standard for Politics on the Internet. Whether is was clever Social Media Tactics, Text/SMS Messaging, Blogs, Emails, Donation Platforms and Paid search, the "Online Political Benchmark" has been raised and if campaigns want to compete, what we have learned this last political cycle needs to be a part of the overall strategy.

Filed under: Paid Search in General

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