The Politics Of Online Advertising?

Have you begun to feel as if political advertising has saturated broadcast media? It seems as if every time I turn on the television there is an ad sponsored by a presidential candidate endorsing his/her message. I've never been one to delve into political advertising. Why? I guess there are so many people out there that specialize in it already. Would I work on a campaign nowadays? Sure. Why, you ask? Because most political advertising is horrible in message format and content -- let alone media placement.

Times are changing, though. Would you believe we have seen a debate aired on none other than YouTube? It certainly isn't a place where my mom would have seen it. However my brother, a young voter, did. By no means does this writer think this revolutionized politics today. However, it sheds light on citizen politics -- an approach to governance that stresses the role of ordinary people in making public decisions and solving public problems, according to the Civic Practices Network.



The candidates also seem different in their campaign messages on YouTube: more real. Perhaps that's because they were being videotaped in their homes or the settings they prefer. It was almost as if they were talking to a friend. If such video is done right. it could have a heck of a lot of impact.

Well, it is no surprise that political ad spending is expected to soar by 43% to an all-time high of $4.5 billion in the 2008 election cycle, according to a just-released analysis from ad and marketing research firm PQ Media. According to a release quoting Patrick Quinn, president & CEO of PQ Media, "A key trend driving growth is that this is the first election since 1928 without a current member of the executive branch running for office, which has resulted in an unusually high number of presidential candidates participating in the primary season, as well as a discordant political landscape on several fronts."

Additional findings from the study include:

· A key trend driving overall growth in 2008 is expected record-breaking fundraising. The decision by many presidential candidates to forgo federal matching funds has contributed significantly to increased fundraising because individual contributions have no set limits.

· Advertising media, including broadcast and cable TV, radio, newspapers, Internet, out-of-home media and mobile & magazines, is projected to reach $3.03 billion, and account for 67.2% of all political media spending in the 2008 election cycle.

· Spending on political marketing services, including direct mail, public relations, and promotions & event marketing, will reach $1.48 billion and account for the remaining 32.8%.

· Marketing will continue to gain share from advertising due to more sophisticated databases that allow direct mail strategies to be targeted to specific regions in battleground states, of which there will be more than usual in 2008.

· Nevertheless, broadcast TV will command the largest share of political media spend in 2008 with 51.3% of the total $4.50 billion, but candidates will continue to shift budgets to other media strategies like public relations, promotions & event marketing and the Internet to reach key target demographics.

· Campaign funding growth has expanded the use of other media, particularly direct mail, which is projected to generate more than $1 billion in spending for the first time in 2008.

· Of all nine advertising and marketing segments, Internet ad spend is expected to exhibit the fastest growth during the 2008 campaign, up an estimated 83.9% compared with 2006.

· Other media projected to exhibit high double-digit gains are public relations, promotions & event marketing (55.9%), direct mail (53.0%) and broadcast TV (46.2%).

If you were to represent a candidate or party online this year, what would you do? I think there is a really viable opportunity to strategically implement video, social networks, widgets, and IM clients. Nonetheless, this is a huge opportunity for online media.

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