Blog Ads—Primaries

Campaigns have a number of online advertising options including search, display, pre-roll video, and ads on Facebook and they likewise have various objectives such as persuading or mobilizing voters, driving traffic to their websites, building email lists and fundraising.  The display ads run on popular blogs and news sites are easier to track and are the focus of this section.  Such ads can be targeted with considerable specificity.  Thus during the Iowa caucus and NH primary campaigns one found them on Iowa and NH political blogs and on news sites such as the Des Moines Register and the Union Leader (Manchester, NH). 

Blog ads come in different sizes and shapes (leaderboard, big square, half page, rectangle). offered an interesting option called the "homepage takover."  For $1,000 the buyer received a 728x90 pixel leaderboard ad across the top of the homepage, a 300x600 pixel half-page down the right side, and a 300x100 pixel rectangle underneath that for 24 hours midnight to midnight.  That is a lot of real estate.  Other ways to attract notice are with animated ads, with ads that change when the mouse rolls over them or by running ads over an extended period of time. 

From June 2011-April 2012 the Romney and Obama campaigns invested the most in running blog ads.  The first ads from the Obama campaign were observed on The Messenger (Fort Dodge, IA) on May 31, 2011; Romney's first ads were also observed on May 31 on The Union Leader (Manchester, NH).  The two campaigns produced extensive creative work over the next ten or so months.  Other primary campaigns weighed in to varying degrees, some extensively and others just dabbling.  See summary below.
With assistance from Mike Dec,

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