Politics and Elections Blog
Trends, tools and news from the Google Politics & Elections team
November Is Noisy... So Start Talking Now
Monday, July 23, 2012
The conventional wisdom for political campaigns has been to save as much money for as long as possible, and then to spend it all communicating with voters down the stretch right near Election Day. But this year that's started to change. The most sophisticated campaigns are investing earlier....Now those of you political insiders know that there's some precedent here: Paul Begala hangs part of Clinton's '96 victory on the campaign's ability to define Dole early, Karl Rove and company successfully deployed this strategy against John Kerry, and the Obama campaign has been seemingly operating out of the same playbook, attempting to define Mitt Romney in an ad blitz that began last April. But the levels of early spending this cycle are unprecedented. And with good reason.
The latest research points out that voter influence starts early: 44% of voters saying they research candidates and issues more than four months out from Election Day (Shopper Sciences). And search query data backs this up.
In 2008, we saw that over 60% of searches on policy-related terms for President Obama (like “Obama policies” and “Obama economic plan”) came well ahead of Election Day and before October 1st. While some of the spikes are attributable to the primary with Hillary Clinton, the steady baseline of Obama searches indicates that voters were researching, learning, and making up their minds' about the candidate long before October.
*Google Internal Data
And this isn’t just on a national level; the trend is also strong in the states. The 2008 Franken/Coleman Senate race in Minnesota was one of the hottest in the country and voters also got started early in their research. Fully 70% of searches on the candidates’ names came before October 1st.
This cycle, early searching has been dramatically higher than the 2008 race. Searches for Governor Romney from June 27, 2011 - July 15, 2012 are three times higher than searches for Senator McCain in the same period four years ago--a sign that Obama and his allies are attempting to capitalize on in their move to define their opponent early, when many voters are making their initial assessments.
McCain data: June 25, 2007 - July 13, 2008
Romney data: June 27, 2011 - July 15, 2012
*Google Internal Data
Investing early is a growing trend in other industries as well - most notably in the retail space where stores are opening their doors and upping their promotions well in advance of Black Friday. And guess what? 34% of people now start their holiday shopping before October (Shopper Sciences). Take two other monumental events this year - the Super Bowl and the Olympics. Pre-released Super Bowl spots from Chevy and VW scored millions of views on YouTube in advance of game day while Visa and Coke Olympics campaigns topped the Ad Age viral video chart in May -- a full 3 months before the summer games.
Why does it pay to be an early mover? For starters, it’s easier to break through. According to Politico, the 2012 cycle may go down in history as the most cluttered and expensive. Reaching engaged voters when they’re researching candidates, reading up on issues and forming opinions early just makes sense. Finally, you get more bang for your buck earlier. On average cost-per-view for Youtube TrueView advertising increased 267% in the 2010 Cycle in October 27 - November 2 compared to the three months prior.
Here are a few simple strategies to buy more efficiently and make an early investment count over time:
1. Capture the attention of early searchers by starting early
When voters are looking for information on candidates or important issues, search is the first place they turn. Help them find you fast by making your message stand out via search ads and then convert their interest into signups, volunteer hours, and donations. And with mobile search traffic on candidates skyrocketing from less than 1% of total queries in January 2008 to at least a quarter today, make sure you have a mobile-optimized website that makes it easy for smartphone and tablet users to connect with you.
*Google Internal Data
2. Complement your TV buy with online and mobile video
With 45% of likely voters nationwide saying that live TV isn’t their primary mode of consuming video (Shopper Sciences, April 2011), a
is a must-have for a successful campaign. Online and mobile video not only extend a TV campaign message more efficiently over time, but deliver unique creative solutions like interactive video ads that can transform your campaign messages into engaging experiences to persuade voters.
3. Speak to key audiences continuously with targeted display advertising
You know who your key voters are, and targeted display ads are efficient enough that you can go up early and never come down. Whether you want to reach suburban moms, NASCAR dads or Hispanics, targeted display advertising lets you communicate continuously with your key audiences, wherever they are. Reaching your primary audiences in the right moments over time and across devices is an effective way to drive awareness, engagement and voter preference.
4. Remarket to engaged users
Remarketing lets you continuously re-engage people who previously visited your website or watched your online video. For example, you can tailor messaging specifically to those who may have visited an action page of your candidate’s website, but didn’t sign up or donate. Whether you’re looking to raise money, solicit volunteers or any other goal, remarketing should be a strategic component of every campaign.
5. Use social extensions to boost your search performance and discoverability
Start early and build your campaign’s social marketing efforts by sharing social annotations like +1 buttons between your ads and social network pages. This feature helps build a larger collection of social recommendations that improves ad performance. Ads displaying a +1 annotation have seen clickthrough rate uplifts of 5%-10% (Google Internal Data, 2012)
Posted by Jennifer Gross, Google Politics & Elections Team
1 comment :
July 23, 2012 at 10:36 AM
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