GOP Outguns Dems Online in Congressional Races

  |  April 21, 2010   |  Comments

Consultants on the right and left, along with digital media sellers, say Republican House candidates are more serious about using Web ads and other online efforts this midterm election season.

ClickZ News - Politics & AdvocacyWashington, D.C.-- Republican congressional candidates are outgunning their Democratic counterparts, at least in one arena: online advertising.

Consultants on the right and left, along with digital media sellers, say Republican House candidates are serious about using Web ads and other online efforts this midterm election season. They suggest key factors include the desire to take back the majority in that chamber, complacency among Democrats, and even attitudes among party leadership.

"Republicans are throwing the gauntlet down," said Andrew Roos, account executive, AdWords, Google elections and issue advocacy, speaking during a panel on online ad targeting at the Politics Online conference in Washington, D.C. this morning.

Brian Rosenberg, senior account executive at Cox Cross Media, pegs the GOP-to-Democrat House candidate ratio at 3 to 1. He's getting calls from Republican media buying agencies that are sending out proposals for primary campaigns. Rosenberg chalks it up, at least in part, to an "underdog" mentality among GOP candidates.

"They're realizing this is a medium that really has not been utilized much...now in this midyear election cycle, we're seeing a lot more," he said. Rosenberg said some Republican congressional and gubernatorial campaigns expect to spend as much as $9 million on online advertising.

Digital campaign consultants serving candidates on both sides of the aisle affirm the trend. Republican Matthew Dybwad, partner at Craft Media Digital, a consultancy serving Republican campaigns, suggested that because they hold the majority in the House, congressional Democrats are less compelled to make sure they're at the top of their digital games. He also implied that Republican party leaders have stressed the importance of using online ads, and the Web in general.

Some say the disparity is more perceived than actual. One online ad seller at the conference told ClickZ News his firm isn't seeing more interest from Republicans; rather, the GOP has thought leaders who are more vocal about the need to invest in Internet campaigns.

Yet even those working with Democratic campaigns say the trend is real. Though he stresses that top tier Democratic races on the left - including Senate campaigns - are willing to invest in online efforts, the same is not true of Democratic House candidates, said Josh Koster, partner at Chong + Koster. The traditional media buying hierarchy in both parties is a factor, he said. For instance, Republicans have a history of spending money on direct mail for fundraising, and have embraced the use of performance-based online advertising for that very purpose.

"Digital paid media intrinsically makes more sense to [direct] mail guys right away," and many older Republican media execs specialize in direct mail, explained Koster. On the other hand, most big Democratic media buying outfits specialize in TV buying. "At least the more junior varsity TV firms are more scared of digital media, and on the left it's the TV firms running the show," he said.

Koster also pointed to recent special election campaigns won by Republicans in which the Web played a key role, including Scott Brown's 2010 Senate campaign. "The right has had a couple of really well run special election campaigns recently and so, they did this, and now it's become standard practice because their victories had a heavy component of [paid digital media]."

In the end, added Koster, "To some extent it just comes down to incumbent candidates tend to run very safe campaigns and safe campaigns tend not to innovate, particularly in the early part of the cycle where they're trying to pretend they're not running for reelection yet."

He continued, "I think that will change by the end of the cycle to some extent."

Follow Kate Kaye on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

Subscribe to ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy News RSS feed.

ClickZ Live Toronto On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!

ClickZ Live San Francisco Want to learn more? Join us at ClickZ Live San Francisco, Aug 10-12!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, ClickZ Live brings together industry thought leaders from the largest brands and agencies to deliver the most advanced, educational digital marketing agenda. Register today and save $500!

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.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter. Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.

Paid Search in the Mobile Era

Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.

WEBINARS

Resources

Jobs

    • GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator
      GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator (British Consulate-General, New York) - New YorkThe GREAT Britain Campaign is seeking an energetic and creative...
    • Paid Search Senior Account Manager
      Paid Search Senior Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring a strategic Paid Search Senior Account Manager...
    • Paid Search Account Manager
      Paid Search Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring an experienced Paid Search Account Manager to...