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Google Sees Continued Strength in Online Political Ad Spending

With the 2008 election cycle being a record year for online politics, it's no surprise that everyone expects online campaigns to be critical to major political campaigns in the future. Google has taken it a step further and believes that political online ad spending will be a stalwart every year, even those without major elections.

Whereas most political firms, especially those relying on media buys, downsize after a major election, Google plans on keeping its campaign cogs turning through 2009 and into 2010, according to a recent ad age article. Google first organized a political sales-force in the spring of 2007, and with the huge success of the 2008 cycle, they're determined to push hard through the off-cycle year and continue winning new business from campaigns of all sizes.

Google's director of election and issue advocacy, Peter Greenberger, looks at it as a law of large numbers problem that will average out to a good return for Google in every year:

There are 500,000 elected officials in the U.S. With the advances we've made in geo-targeting, we think this will be part of every political campaign in the country, as well as issue campaigns. People saw what Obama did, and they are adapting to how the world has changed and using his techniques.

At NMC, we couldn't agree more with this philosophy. We launched as a company that had a specialty in political web design in 2006, and in that time we've seen an increased demand for smaller campaign websites such as issue campaigns and local levies.  In a given cycle, we build almost as many issue and levy campaign websites as we do candidate sites.

Everyone, no matter their size, now knows the importance of a successful online campaign and is committed to enlisting great firms, such as Google, to make that happen.

One reason that Google advertising will be particularly helpful for smaller campaigns is the ability to geotarget Google advertising campaigns.  If I'm running for Raleigh City Council, an extremely powerful technique is to advertise for local Raleigh terms.  This means not only advertising for "Raleigh City Council", but also for hot topic issues like "Wake County Schools" and other topics that voters will be searching for.  A Google campaign allows you to have your campaign website in front of them when they're searching for important local issues.

One important thing for campaigns to remember as they sign up for Google is that it's critical their ads link back to a formidable website.  It's important to ensure that your online ad buys and website design work in tandem. There's no point in spend gobs of money on online advertising, if you're not sending them to an engaging and convincing campaign site.

We're extremely excited for the online campaigns of 2009 and 2010. Our personal experience correlates with Google's hypothesis, as we have only seen an increase in political websites so far in the new year.

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