Obama, Romney Find Political Power In Online Ads

Obama-RomneyThe U.S. presidential candidates put a heavy focus on display, social and search ads during the first half of 2012. President Barack Obama spent $4.6 million on display advertising to get reelected -- taking 87% share of impressions, compared with Governor Mitt Romney at about $300,000, according to comScore's State of the Internet in the U.S. 2012 address released Wednesday.

While display advertising sends clear messages on direction, social media gives the candidates a method to connect more closely with voters. Romney's Web traffic leading to his Web site made up about 15% of Obama's 3.4 million, estimates comScore.

The candidates' social media strategy as of June finds Obama with 27.9 million Fans on Facebook, compared with Romney's 4.7 million Fans -- but the frequency of ad impressions tells a different tale with 3.6 and 5.6, respectively. Obama has 80.5 million earned media impressions, while Romney has 41.6 million.

On Facebook, Obama tends to attract a younger 18-24 age demographic; Romney, ages 45-plus. comScore said 26% of site traffic to mittromney.com comes from Facebook, but it accounts for a smaller audience compared with Obama, who took out ads in Electronic Arts' online games to reach a younger voters.

Similar to display advertising, Obama leads in the share of paid-search ads and clicks, but doesn't seem as effective, according to comScore. While Obama leads in shares of paid search impressions, Romney's creativity to run a paid-search ad promoting a dining experience with he and wife Ann drove up clicks, especially in May.

Obama draws more people to barackobama.com via smartphones compared with Romney -- about 1.08 million vs. 171,000, according to comScore. However, Romney seems to attract voters making an annual income of $100,000 or more.

Political sites and blogs also have begun to influence decisions, as a trend toward more video views picks up, according to comScore. DrudgeReport.com attracts 31% Democrats, 28% Republican and 40% Independents, according to July 2012 comScore.

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2 comments about "Obama, Romney Find Political Power In Online Ads".
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  1. perry drake from UMSL, September 27, 2012 at 12:34 p.m.

    You should check out the Drake Direct "Obama Romney Social Media Dashboard Infographic" for me details on how they compare. Very cool. http://www.drakedirect.blogspot.com/2012/09/obama-vs-romney-2012-social-media_24.html

  2. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct, September 27, 2012 at 1:43 p.m.

    Good data. A bit concerned by the title. All the data says is they spent a bunch and did something. It doesn't reveal whether that was significant. Hence, we really don't know whether it should be described as "political power"...