Aug 23 2011
Basis Team

Digital Impact on the 2012 Presidential Campaign


Background: Leading up to the 2008 presidential election, President Barack Obama’s campaign team took a huge leap into the digital space spending more than $16 million in advertising. The campaign effectively leveraged display, video, search and social media to reach large audiences including progressive advocates. As a result, more politicians are taking advantage of digital media and relying on it to communicate their platforms and connect with voters.

Now that the digital space has evolved and been embraced even more since the last election, what should advertisers expect in 2012?

Increased Competition: Content and news sites will become infiltrated with traffic as the nation follows the campaign and stays informed of the issues at hand. Thus, the competition will increase for politically-driven advertisers to reach their desired audience in these high-impact digital environments.

Emphasis on Local Media: Local news sites will become even more valuable as presidential candidates campaign throughout the nation and local communities get involved with the election. It will be incredibly important for advertisers to target relevant messages at a local level, especially as voters seek local candidate information and voting specifics.

In the 2008 presidential election, local media was an essential component as stated in a ClickZ article: “Local media was clearly important to the campaign. Throughout the election, hundreds of thousands were spent on local media sites. Local media company Centro, which took in $1.3 million from the campaign, facilitated many of those local ad buys.”

Limited Online Inventory: Advertisers should expect a race for premium ad formats, such as pre-roll video, and placements on news sites. The competition will increase particularly during times when the campaign experiences high traction. While there is no shortage of inventory in the digital space, there is limited availability for premium ad formats and placements within premium sites during critical times.

Media Advancements: Advertisers will become more aggressive with digital mediums and channels, including display, video, search, mobile and social, to inform and influence the public in innovative ways. These digital channels will be leveraged alongside traditional channels such as TV. Thus, messages will be continually repeated at every voter touch point.

The Social Impact: Social media will be a huge contributor to the presidential election campaign as voters will use it to get quick updates on a candidate, participate in discussions and influence others. Additionally, politicians will use social media more (e.g., Twitter) to stay connected with the nation on a regular basis and to provide more transparency. Social media will be used as a springboard to other digital touch points, including news sites, video sites (YouTube and Hulu), official candidate sites, etc.

Politically-focused advertisers should ensure they have a consistent and loud voice that follows voters throughout the digital space, especially in high-impact environments. How do you think the 2012 presidential election will be impacted by digital media?