Barack Obama consistently spent more money for online advertising, compared with Mitt Romney, during the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign.
The Obama campaign increased the amount spent in online advertising in August 2011, and by September 2012 reached $2.51 million for the month, compared with Romney's $3.03 million for the month.
Obama's FEC filing reveals online advertising was the highest expense after media buys and payroll, according to Rise Interactive, a search marketing company.
Romney's filing indicated that online advertising spend went to direct mail consulting, digital consulting and four other expenses. It turns out that while Obama had a higher overall spend and prioritized online spending higher, Romney spent more for online advertising overall.
Rise analyzed paid-search spend, impressions and clicks for both candidates. Obama spent $1.18 million on paid search, compared with Romney's 0.24 million. The company said Obama gained 1.1 million clicks on 22.3 million impressions, compared with Romney's 0.23 million clicks on 4.5 million impressions. Click-through rates were 4.93% versus 5.11%, respectively.
Rise also looked at keyword bidding. Obama spent $146,000 in June and August, compared with Romney's $84,000 during the same time period.
Will the amount spent in online advertising and marketing have any real influence on the U.S. presidential elections?
WordStream Founder Larry Kim said it's difficult to say because some voters research candidates on search engines, such as Bing and Google.
"I think remarketing is really effective for, say, chasing people who visited a candidate's site yet didn't sign up or donate money to a campaign," Kim said. "So yes -- I think it may have some impact, not unlike other forms of advertising. The challenge is that you can jam more interesting content into a TV ad versus a banner ad or text link."
When it comes to display ads, the start-up Moat provides ad search technology and analytics that indexes the Internet and allows marketers to view the ads serving up on publishers' sites across the Internet. As campaigning comes to a close, searches on the engine reveal that 657 ads serve up about Obama versus 112 for Mitt Romney.