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
Blog ads come in different
sizes and shapes (leaderboard,
big square, half page, rectangle). UnionLeader.com 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
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
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
With assistance from Mike Dec, 4president.org.
Bachmann | Cain | Gingrich | McCotter | Paul | Pawlenty | Perry | Roemer | Romney | Santorum | Obama
(Palin) ...more | interest groups | parties
- From the outset, the Obama
campaign seemed most interested in testing not only different graphic
designs, but different shapes, sizes and placements. For example,
on Jan. 3, 2012 (Caucus Day), Obama for America dominated the Des Moines Register site with
background ads run with a
banner ad and a 350 x 200px. The Obama campaign also had a big ad
presence on the Union Leader
website on Primary Day, Jan. 10,
2012. Also in January the campaign ran some narrow horizontal ads
(approx. 970 x 30px) that when clicked produced an animated chart of
U.S. Job Growth.
- While the Romney campaign did a lot of creative design work on display ads, it did not venture beyond the standard horizontal, vertical and squarish forms, and just about all of these ads seemed to be static. Among the more interesting Romney blog ads were the treatments of three endorsements: Pawlenty (Sept. 13) has a bit of a retro look, Christie (Oct. 11) is fairly standard, and Rubio (March 29) curiously is not pictured. It is important to note the Romney campaign did a lot of pre-roll video and expandable rich media advertising; the display ads highlighted in this section were only part of the mix.
- The Bachmann campaign did a lot of web advertising, including a slew of presidential looking ones from Bachmann for Congress in the period from April to June 2011.
- Friends of Herman Cain produced a few creative ads but did not advertize consistently.
- The McCotter
blip campaign ventured into blog ads.
- Although the Gingrich campaign ran a couple of isolated blog ads in 2011, it did not make much use of this approach until January 2012.
- Ron Paul's
campaign ran numerous blog ads,
many tied in with money bombs. Among the interesting Paul
ads were those which allowed the user to rollover to play video.
- There were a few Pawlenty blog ads before he exited the race.
produced a handful of blog ads but did
much in advertising on the web; one had to really search to find his
- Buddy Roemer's exploratory committee produced a couple of blog ads which it ran heavily from March-June 2011, but nothing was seen after that.
- The Santorum campaign, as with Newt 2012, had a couple of isolated ads in 2011, and then started to run them more consistently starting in January 2012; however his campaign did not produce as many designs as for example Romney's campaign.
- Americans Elect ran several blog ads.
- The super PACs did not seem to take much to these medium of advertising. While several RWB Fund (supporting Santorum) and Winning Our Future (supporting Gingrich) ads ran, there did not seem to be any from Restore Our Future (Romney) or Make Us Great Again (Perry).