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May 30, 2008

Presidential Candidates Dive into Search Marketing

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Lisa is out sick for the day, which means your regular scheduled program saucy recap of the week’s ongoings in the search world is not available. Instead, I’m here to reassure you that the Bruce Clay Blog is not ill – in fact, it is alive, well, and looking forward to a bombardment of posts come SMX Advanced next week.

In case you’re a reader who would rather not be privy to the wealth of information the conference liveblog coverage will offer, I thought I’d take this opportunity to remind you of the liveblog-less feed. However, I’ll warn you that the Bruce Clay Blog offers stellar takeaways from conference sessions, and SMX Advanced is sure to be full of sophisticated information that anyone not going to the conference will want to be aware of.

But, back to the business of every happy Friday; rather than a recap, I thought I could chime in on a story Search Engine Land has been following, and an issue of personal interest: the Internet’s prominence in the presidential race. It seems that For Obama The Online Marketer It’s All About Google, which I think is exactly how this mostly-untested new kid on the block has remained viable against behemoth veteran politicos. Well, it’s part of it, anyway. My takeaway: more and more we see that the candidate that taps into the mainstream online consciousness will win the race. No big revelation, I know.

It’s also interesting to note that along with increased online ad spend is an increase in candidate and campaign-related search volumes. Here we see Obama leading in overall search volume, despite McCain spending more than double on paid search than the Democrats. Issues like the economy, health care, the War in Iraq, and gas prices (I’m afraid to even think about that right now. The station down the street is selling regular for $4.27 a gallon!) are seeing major growth in search. Reportedly, 87 percent of potential voters search online for election information.

I suppose the candidates are taking a smart approach. The Washington Post breaks down the original ClickZ report on candidates’ online ad spend pretty well in Google Rakes In Campaign Contributions From Obama, explaining that the presidential candidate’s Federal Election Commission filings show that the campaign has spent $2.8 million with Google ad networks.

The report also showed that the vast majority of political ad spend is still going to traditional media, like television. But since Ron Paul’s once-significant Internet fan base proved unsuccessful against more traditional campaigns, I guess it’s understandable that Obama, Clinton and McCain have yet to put their full weight behind the online medium.

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