Behavioral Targeting in the Presidential Campaigns

This presidential election will be the first where online advertising will play a significant role in the results. Traditional TV ad’s still represent a disproportionally high amount of ad spend by the different candidates, however, more and more money is moving to the online medium.

Here is an interesting article on the subject in ClickZ by Elyse Tager: “Behavioral Targeting’s Role in Presidential Campaigns”.

The article speculates that Giuliani’s campaign failed partly by not having a strong online strategy (he was also the last to market with a TV campaign). He registered his domain name only in 2006, signaling a feeling that a Web presence was only obligatory, not a necessity. On the other hand, Obama’s online media campaign has been tremendously successful with more Technorati links and his (and McCain’s) participation in PPC (define) during this time, suggesting serious SEO efforts on his part.

This year Obama now has overtaken Clinton in every SEO category, while McCain lags far behind. What does this analysis mean if Obama and McCain go up against each other? Most likely that people who support Obama are more tech literate and get their news and information online. It suggests that McCain’s supporters are older and respond more to traditional media. This is what behavioral targeting can reveal.

The article also outlines ZeroDash1’s Anil Batra’s suggestions on how the Presidential Candidates could leverage Behavioral Targeting.

  • Retarget the site visitor as she navigates within the network.
  • Target the undecided voter with a persuasive message (ad).
  • Segment visitors by what they view on the site.
  • Use a convincing message to encourage visitors to make a campaign contribution.
  • Use the visitor’s offsite behavior to deliver a targeted message once she’s on your site.
  • Use IP geotargeting to identify and buy media in low-traffic geographic locations. Use geotargeting to segment visitors in high-traffic locations to fine-tune the site message.

This is a timely and interesting article and well worth the read for those interested.