Politics and Elections Blog
Trends, tools and news from the Google Politics & Elections team
A Super Bowl Win for Elections
Monday, June 4, 2012
The Super Bowl and Presidential Election are two of the largest and most anticipated national events -- with over 110 million viewers of Super Bowl XLVI and an expected 130 million* voters on Election Day 2012. The Super Bowl stands out as the most important event for marketers, with roughly $230 million spent on game day from brands like Pepsico, Anheuser Busch and General Motors. The stakes for both events are incredibly high.
Can we learn from and apply techniques from one of those massive events to the other? Specifically, we thought it would be interesting to examine if political campaigns can learn anything from approaching Election Day from the same perspective that big brand marketers have used ahead of the big game. We found that savvy marketers who started early produced results for the Super Bowl and smart political campaigns can have an impact in the same way.
Ahead of this year’s Super Bowl, some of the top spenders tried to break free of the noise during the game. They took marketing in a new direction and pre-released their “television” commercials online prior to game day. Honda CRV, for example, released a
that was a recreation of Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off taking an adventure in his Honda CRV. The video, released on YouTube more than a week before the game, received over 5 million views in just one week, as well as attention from numerous press outlets leading up to the big game.
Other brands like Chevrolet, MetLife, Volkswagen and E-Trade also leveraged the benefits of greater awareness, intrigue and “talk value” from promoting their content online well in advance of game day. While they may have given up the “surprise factor” of unveiling their new ads on the big screen on February 5th, it appears that they gained a lot more. These early releases online made it easier for viewers to form opinions ahead of time in a less cluttered environment, and - importantly - then share and discuss them within their friends, family, and co-workers. The multi-screen effect provided more engagement opportunities with the brand - allowing viewers to view, vote, comment and “like” ads online or via mobile devices.
While the Elections advertising cycle is much longer than the Super Bowl, the value of starting early still applies. Here are three ways your campaign can benefit from a pre-Labor Day advertising investment across
(television, computers, tablets and mobile phones):
Preview key messages to maximize impact
Let’s face it: for campaigns, November is incredibly noisy. By the time these elections are upon us, most of us (political nuts aside) are a bit sick of seeing all the political ads and messages. Between TV commercials, direct mail, and online ads, campaigns are bombarding voters right up to the voting booth. Thus, taking a page from the corporate marketer’s playbook, beginning your campaign investment early not only allows your message to break through with greater ease, but empowers voters to engage with your content.
The Roger Williams for U.S. Congress Committee successfully drove campaign awareness, donations and earned media beginning in June 2011 for the 2012 election cycle. The Committee promoted issue-oriented video ads on YouTube, along with overlays that drove viewers to a specialized donation landing page. One such video,
"The Donkey Whisperer"
, which draws humorous parallels between Democrats and Williams’ hungry donkeys, received 50,000 views in the first 48 hours and considerable attention from bloggers and traditional media outlets. Separating your candidate or issue from the pack can turn passive viewing in a noisy environment into active viewing in a less cluttered environment.
Marry offline and online
Television ads alone are not enough to reach voters. Today, an ad is a stimulus, and people respond immediately by searching for more information. In fact, in a survey of likely South Carolina Republican primary voters, 60% who searched online after seeing an advertisement used a search engine to check information about a candidate (POS/Google Study, 2012).
Furthermore, campaigns that run across screens have 24% greater recall and 17% greater engagement than those on a single screen (Nielsen Multi-Screen Lab Study, 2011) so you want to deliver your message over time to reach and influence voters on all the media sources they consume -- from watching television, reading articles online and using mobile applications.
Get bang for your buck
Buying early lets you maximize your campaign budget in two important ways. First, prices are much lower May through August so you’re able to reach the same audience much more efficiently. Second, reservable inventory is not always available as it gets closer to the election, especially in battleground states. If you don’t already have your budget allocated, start now with a strategy that allows you to begin early and then scale where and when it’s right for your campaign. Don’t wait until the last minute when inventory is depleted. Finally, take advantage of the efficiencies of buying media across multiple screens.
Many Super Bowl 2012 advertisers made the web work in a bigger way a by sharing content with viewers across screens ahead of game day. By expanding their single :30 second television moment to new online moments, they drew more viewers to their content and peaked interest earlier. Candidates - at all levels - have the same ability to take advantage to win the moments that matter much earlier in the cycle to score more votes at “game time.”
* Figure based on 2008 turnout data.
Posted by Jennifer Gross, Google Politics & Elections Team
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