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Obama's Web Ads May Have Driven Big North Carolina Win

  |  May 21, 2008   |  Comments

Obama barnstormed North Carolinians with Web ads in April, while McCain and Clinton ran relatively few display ads last month.

ClickZ_Campaign08_katefinal.jpgObama won big in this month's North Carolina primary and his online ad strategy in April may have played a role in driving his supporters to the polls. As the primaries chug along, Senator Barack Obama has steamrolled past fellow Democratic Presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton and likely Republican nominee John McCain in the Web ad department. The Illinois Senator's camp continued using the Web to urge people to register and vote early in North Carolina and Indiana, which held primaries May 8.

Obama for America ran approximately 80 million ad impressions online last month, more than double the amount the campaign placed in March, according to Nielsen Online AdRelevance data. And the bulk of those ads, about 70 million impressions, were targeted to North Carolina voters, the research firm reports.

"You can vote now for Barack Obama even if you are not registered or have never voted before! Find Your One-Stop Early Voting Location," declared ads aimed at Tar Heel state residents. North Carolina allows citizens to register and vote at the same time days ahead of election day.

While Obama virtually barnstormed North Carolinians, McCain and Clinton ran relatively few display ads in comparison. John McCain 2008 has gradually increased his online ad buys over the past few months, hitting about 6 million in March, around the same number placed by Hillary Clinton for President.

The Clinton camp carried on with its pure fundraising mission, begun in full force the previous month. Ads told viewers to "Support Hillary Clinton Today!" and urged them to contribute either $5 or $50 "Now." The majority of ads from the New York Senator's campaign were spotted by Nielsen Online on AOL.com News, CNN and local news aggregator Topix. Around 500,000 impressions also appeared on conservative commentary destination Lucianne.com, a site McCain ads have showed up on in recent months.

McCain's online ad efforts have not strayed much during the primaries. Most of the candidate's messages aimed to convince people of the Arizona Senator's experience, leadership and courage. "One man has the experience, One man has the courage, One man has our trust," read the most-seen ad. Another heavily served creative linked to McCain's "Courageous Service Video," featuring footage of his heralded Vietnam War service.

mccain_courage.jpgMany of the campaign's ads were most likely purchased through ad networks. As in earlier months, the campaign ran a variety of creatives intended to gather contact information from supporters to drive volunteerism and donations. John McCain 2008 also continued hammering away at Clinton in some ads. The majority of McCain's display ads appeared on conservative sites Lucianne.com and National Review, in addition to Topix, Merriam-Webster Online and the New York Times.

Many of Obama's campaign ads also were seen on Merriam-Webster Online, in addition to Allrecipes.com and About.com, indicating they were probably bought via ad networks.

In addition to the hefty North Carolina ad push, Obama's campaign targeted some ads to Indiana voters, though far fewer than were aimed at North Carolinians. "Indiana Early Voting is now open," some ads prodded. Though most of the Senator's display ads have been intended to inspire early voting and glean contact information from potential volunteers and donors, the campaign also attempted to persuade Pennsylvania voters ahead of the state's April primary that Clinton and McCain are in bed with oil company PACs and lobbyists.

"Hillary Clinton has taken more money from PACs and Washington lobbyists, including those for oil and gas, than anyone in the race," read the ad, which also panned McCain for accepting contributions from oil companies. Despite Obama's unique online efforts aimed at Indiana and Pennsylvania voters, Clinton won in both states.

Ad below provided by online ad tracking firm The Media Trust Company.

Refresh page to see full ad animation.

April 2008 Ads by
Hillary Clinton for President
Ad Copy Call to Action Ad Sizes Estimated Number of Impressions
"Help Make History Support Hillary Clinton Today!" "Contribute $5 Now" 336x280 Large Rectangle, 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper, 120x600 Skyscraper 2,980,000
"Support Hillary Clinton Today!" "Contribute $50 Now" 300x250 Medium Rectangle 960,000
"Help Make History Support Hillary Clinton Today!" "Contribute $50 Now" 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 728x90 Leaderboard, 336x280 Large Rectangle, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 1,035,000
"Support Hillary Clinton Today!" "Contribute $5 Now" 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 1,040,000
Source: Nielsen Online, AdRelevance, 2008

April 2008 Ads by
John McCain 2008
Ad Copy Call to Action Ad Sizes Estimated Number of Impressions
"One man has the experience One man has the courage One man has our trust John McCain for President." "Join Our Team" 728x90 Leaderboard, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper, 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 336x280 Large Rectangle 4,350,000
"Who do you trust to protect America? John McCain for President" "Join the Team" 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 468x60 Full Banner 485,000
"Courageous Service. Experienced Leadership. Bold Solutions. Watch Courageous Service Video. "Play Video" 728x90 Leaderboard 395,000
"Three million of your tax dollars to study the DNA of bears in Montana. I don't know if that's a paternity issue or a criminal issue." "Stop Pork Barrel Spending. Sign the Petition." 728x90 Leaderboard, 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 450,000
Gas Prices Too High? Gasoline [prices] Arm Leg First Born. Support John McCain's Moratorium" "Sign the Petition." 728x90 Leaderboard, 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 180,000
"Is This The Future You Want? Make Sure It Doesn't Happen!" "Click Here" 728x90 Leaderboard, 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 45,000
"1 million for a Woodstock Museum? not so groovy man" "Watch Video" 160x600 Wide Skyscraper, 300x250 Medium Rectangle 40,000
"$74 million tax dollars for peanut storage costs? That's Nuts! Outraged by Pork?" "Sign the Petition" 160x600 Wide Skyscraper, 728x90 Leaderboard 55,000
"McCain Beats Clinton. Read All About It" "Click Here" 728x90 Leaderboard 15,000
"McCain. Experience Money Can't Buy. Elect John McCain." "Click Here" 728x90 Leaderboard, 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 10,000
Source: Nielsen Online, AdRelevance, 2008

Ad below provided by online ad tracking firm The Media Trust Company.

Refresh page to see full ad animation.

April 2008 Ads by
Obama for America
Ad Copy Call to Action Ad Sizes Estimated Number of Impressions
"One-Stop Early Voting April 17-May 3 Vote Now For Barack Obama You can register and vote at the same time, at a One-Stop Early Voting Location. NC.BarackObama.com Find Your One-Stop Early Voting Location Now." "Go or call 1-888- NC-EARLY" 728x90 Leaderboard 31,210,000
"One-Stop Early Voting April 17-May 3 You can vote now for Barack Obama even if you are not registered or have never voted before! Find Your One-Stop Early Voting Location You can register and vote all at once, at a One-Stop Early Voting Location. NC.BarackObama.com." "North Carolina Click on the Map" 336x280 Large Rectangle, 300x250 Medium Rectangle 30,180,000
"Vote Now For Barack Obama One-Stop Early Voting April 17-May 3. Find Your One-Stop Early Voting Location Not registered yet? That's okay: You can register and vote all at once, at a One-Stop Early Voting Location, but only until May 3." "Go or call 1-888- NC-EARLY" 160x600 Wide Skyscraper, 120x600 Skyscraper 10,435,000
"Which Presidential Candidate Refuses Money From Oil Company PACS And Their Lobbyists? ...John McCain accepts campaign contributions from PACs...including for oil and gas interests. Hillary Clinton has taken more money from PACs and Washington lobbyists...Senator Obama is a leader in fighting for higher fuel efficiency standards" "Click to See..." 300x250 Medium Rectangle 1,990,000
"Barack Obama for President. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 300x250 Medium Rectangle 1,490,000
"Change We Can Believe In. Barack Obama for President. Visit the Official Campaign Website." "Join Us" 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 728x90 Leaderboard, 336x280 Large Rectangle 2,125,000
"Change We Can Believe In. Help Elect Barack Obama President of the United States. Visit the official campaign website" "Join Us" 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 728x90 Leaderboard 1,205,000
"Vote Now For Barack Obama Find Your Early-Vote Location. Indiana Early Voting is now open. Please show your support voting now for Barack Obama. Indiana. BarackObama.com" "Indiana. Click on the Map" 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 728x90 Leaderboard 300,000
"Register to vote for Barack Obama Deadline: Monday. To vote for Barack Obama in the Indiana Primary you must be registered to vote by April 7" "Register by Mail" 300x250 Medium Rectangle, 728x90 Leaderboard 300,000
"Register to vote for Barack Obama Postmark Deadline: Monday. Moved? Update your voter registration by Monday. To vote for Barack Obama in the Indiana Primary you must be registered to vote by Monday" "Register by Mail" 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 125,000
"Meet Barack Obama. Sign Up for Invitations to Campaign Events" "Join Us" 120x600 Skyscraper, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper 80,000
Source: Nielsen Online, AdRelevance, 2008

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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