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Romney Joins Web Ad Buying, Clinton Drops Out, McCain Still Leads

  |  July 10, 2007   |  Comments

UPDATE: According to AdRelevance information, John McCain 2008 and Romney for President ran ads focused on leadership, the military and wasteful spending.

ClickZ_Campaign08_katefinal.jpgUPDATE:In November 2007, Nielsen Online AdRelevance, formerly Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance, provided ClickZ News with revised data on political advertisers for the months of April through September 2007. The amended information affected several stories, including this one, published by ClickZ during that time period. Detailed corrections can be found below the following original story.*

Original Story:
Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney may have run more radio and TV spots through the start of June than other commander-in-chief wannabes, but Nielsen reports his opponent John McCain ran more than twice the number of online display ads as Romney in May. Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance numbers for May indicate the John McCain 2008 camp remained dedicated to the Web, Romney began experimenting, and Hillary Clinton dropped her Web display advertising efforts completely.

McCain's campaign, which ran about 8.7 million impressions in May, still appears to be testing a variety of ad creatives and sizes, placing ads on the same sites and networks as in April. The campaign for his Republican counterpart Romney ran about 3.4 million impressions of four ad creatives. Both campaigns ran ads focusing on leadership and building a supporter base. McCain also is carrying on with an issue-oriented approach, with some ads focusing on the War in Iraq or so-called pork-barrel government spending. In expandable PointRoll units, Romney for President featured issues such as taxes, supporting the military and wasteful government spending.

Both campaigns reached out to the conservatives through placements on right-leaning news and opinion sites NewsMax, TownHall.com and National Review Online. While the most ads for Romney ran on NewsMax (1.6 million), McCain chose TownHall.com as his top ad spot, running over 6 million ads on the site. Both campaigns ran around 200,000 ads on National Review Online.

In addition, Romney ran ads mainly on NewsMax, Yahoo, FoxNews.com, AOL, National Review Online and USAToday.com. McCain ads didn't show up at all on FoxNews.com, AOL or USAToday.com in May, according to AdRelevance.

For April, the measurement firm reported John McCain 2008 ran over 11.5 million impressions, but Romney had none. The only other presidential campaign running ads online in April that were tracked by AdRelevance was the Hillary Clinton for President Exploratory Committee, which ran just 395,000 impressions.

Nielsen also reported on sponsored link ads placed by presidential candidates in April and May. John McCain 2008 ran 14 million in April and six million in May; Romney's campaign ran 877,000 in April and 1.4 million in May. Clinton's campaign bought 966,000 in April and 778,000 in May.

SEM firm iCrossing reported last week that McCain's camp accounted for an estimated 29 percent of issue-based paid search ad spending in May, less than half of the estimated 64 percent spent by Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards. Nielsen did not report sponsored link ad information for Edwards' campaign.

Most-Run May 2007 Ads by
John McCain 2008
Ad Copy Call to Action Ad Sizes Number of Impressions Sites/Networks
"Surrender is not an option" "Sign the Petition today" 234x60 Half Banner, 120x90 Button, 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 4,118,000 TownHall.com, Investors.com, Google, Valueclick
"Sick of wasteful spending? Take our survey." "Click Here" 234x60 Half Banner, 120x90 Button 2,544,000 TownHall.com, Investors.com
"McCain for President" n/a Micro Bar (88x31) 431,000 TheStreet.com
"The future starts April 25, 2007. McCain for President." "Learn More" 234x60 Half Banner 532,000 TownHall.com
"America Deserves Experience. America Deserves Straight Talk. McCain." "Join John McCain" 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 325,000 Google
"$60.4 million tax dollars for salmon fisheries? Something smells fishy. Outraged by Pork?" "Take the survey" 728x90 Leaderboard 163,000 Investors.com
"$74 million tax dollars for peanut storage costs? That's Nuts! $100 million tax dollars for citrus assistance? Orange You Outraged? $60.4 million tax dollars for salmon fisheries? Something smells fishy. Outraged by Pork?" "Take the survey" 300x250 Medium Rectangle 138,000 Investors.com
Source: Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance, 2007

May 2007 Top Site Buys and Impressions by
John McCain 2008
Site/Sub-Site Impressions
TownHall.com 6,086,000
TheStreet.com 586,000
Investors.com 550,000
YouTube 516,000
Military.com 230,000
National Review Online 226,000
Nascar Online 96,000
Washington Times: Washington, DC 55,000
LetsSingIt.com 47,000
Dictionary.com 34,000
Source: Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance, 2007



May 2007 Ads by
Romney For President
Ad Copy Call to Action Ad Sizes Number of Impressions
"Mitt Romney, Strong. New. Leadership. Roll over to learn more & get involved." "Video," "Agenda" (expanded to feature info on taxes, military, wasteful spending, click to donate) Expandable 300x250 Medium Rectangle, Expandable 728x90 Leaderboard 1,159,000
"Mitt Needs You, America Needs You, Help Us Make History" "Sign Up America May 15-16, 2007" 728x90 Leaderboard 724,000
"Mitt Needs You, America Needs You" "Sign Up 24,000 in 24 Hours" 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 1,104,000
"Help Governor Romney Build a New American Dream. Strong. New. Leadership." "Join Team Mitt" 300x250 Medium Rectangle 450,000
Source: Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance, 2007
Note: Data were not available regarding sites where specific ads ran.

May 2007 Top Site Buys and Impressions by
Romney for President
Site/Sub-Site Impressions
NewsMax 1,614,000
Yahoo News 450,000
FoxNews.com 412,000
AOL's AIM.com 332,000
AOL.com News 315,000
National Review Online 200,000
AOL.com Sports 34,000
USAToday.com News 20,000
AOL.com Weather 20,000
TownHall.com 14,000
Source: Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance, 2007

romney_pointroll.jpg romney_signup.jpg

* UPDATE:In November 2007, Nielsen Online AdRelevance, formerly Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance, provided ClickZ News with revised data on political advertisers for the months of April through September 2007. The revised information shows that additional impressions were run in May by the Romney campaign that were not originally reported by AdRelevance. Updated information shows Romney for President ran 5 million ad impressions in May, not 3.4 million; the impressions were tracked on the same Web sites as were initially reported.

The revised data also shows McCain's campaign ran about 100,000 more ad impressions in May than originally shown; additional ads ran on TheStreet.com and Military.com.


Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

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