In its final voter mobilization push, the Democratic National Committee is pulling out all the stops online today and on election day tomorrow. The organization is spending $2.5 million to aim highly-targeted online get-out-the-vote ads to key groups it needs to come out strong for Democratic candidates tomorrow.
"We're very focused on young voters , African-Americans, and Latino voters," said the DNC's New Media Director Natalie Foster.
The DNC, which essentially runs Organizing for America, the hub for the post-2008 iteration of Barack Obama's presidential campaign database, will spend most of its online ad money in these last days, running video, website skins, and other ad units across sites frequented by its targeted audiences.
"Because it's about mobilization, it's not persuasion," said Foster.
The organization has also run ads promoting early voting in states "where early voting is an important part of our strategy," said Foster.
The GOTV ads feature a variety of messages with the same basic "keep America moving forward" theme, and are focused on helping people find the nearest polling place.
"We're on thousands of sites," said Foster, adding that the ads are geo-targeted to states and areas where "all the competitive races" are based. Targeted sites include streaming music site Pandora, Hulu, BlackPlanet.com, MTV, Telemundo, YouTube, and Comedy Central.
Thirty-second in-stream video spots on sites like Hulu feature a motivational message from President Obama, and are accompanied by display ads that tell viewers to "Find your polling location and vote on November 2." Many ads allow people to search for the nearest voting location directly within the ad.
"Wherever we can or it makes sense, our goal is to harness new technology or make it easier," said Foster.
The approach is reminiscent of what the Obama campaign did in the final days leading up to the 2008 presidential election. For instance, Obama ran expandable ads targeting swing states such as Pennsylvania and Florida, which told voters to confirm their polling locations and hours.
On Facebook, the DNC is running homepage units featuring video and a poll. The ads promote the party's "Commit to Vote" Facebook app, which allows supporters to post a commitment to vote icon on their Facebook pages, and ask individual friends to do the same. It also encourages people to "Compete with your friends to inspire the most commitments."
More standard self-serve ads feature a photo of the President and state, "Vote tomorrow and help President Obama move America forward. Find where to vote now!"
Spanish language text ads are also running on search engines, according to Foster.
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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.