10 things you may not have known about effective online advertising campaigns, based on the report, “Best Practices for Political Advertising Online”:
1. Planning ahead means three weeks! To build an effective ad campaign, the report recommends just a few weeks of planning, hiring a professional team that can help place and track the ads, and hiring professional creative services to help develop an effective message. (I was surprised by the short amount of lead time recommended in comparison with more traditional forms of media.)
2. Online advertising is most effective when it is integrated into a strategy that uses other forms of traditional advertising. It probably doesn’t make sense to conduct a major online political or advocacy campaign without a print and/or broadcast presence. Offline viewership typically drives online information-seeking.
3. Education level is positively associated with Internet use. Regardless of ethnicity (Caucasian, Latino, or African American), the more education a person has, the more likely he or she is to be online.
4. In the political arena, the demographic groups that are most likely to respond to political communications include: young voters and democrats, men (38%) who respond more than women (28%), and liberal constituents (39%), who respond more than Republicans (29%) or moderates (25%).
5. Poli-fluentials are defined by the George Washington University’s Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet as individuals who are both politically active and involved in their communities. They are an especially appealing group to political campaigns in that they are more likely to volunteer, read the news, be highly educated, be an equal mix of men and women, make more online political contributions, and have broader social networks.
6. Political consultants rank the Internet as one of the top ways to reach loyal voter bases. However, the Internet is not the best way to reach swing and Independent voters. Television advertising is twice as effective for those groups.
7. Search engine marketing is a powerful tool for political campaigns. It is cost effective, can be tracked and adjusted easily, and reaches potential voters who are actively seeking political information. Google, Yahoo!, and MSN are the top three search engines to use. Informational key words drive the most traffic.
8. 30-second commercial ads that run on websites that reach the target audience can be effective in building the brand of the candidate and increasing likeability. This relatively new information may surprise marketers who believed that impact could only happen through television ads.
9. ‘Lead generation’ is the technical term for supporter recruitment.