The House of Representatives is set to vote today on a balanced budget amendment and conservative group American Action Network is pushing for its passage online. The two-year-old advocacy group is running pre-roll video ads, search ads, and display ads across the web including on Facebook to drive supporters to contact key representatives in swing states.
The organization, which is tied to the American Action Forum think tank, is spending around $25,000 on the online buys, or 25 percent the total $100,000 budget. The remainder is going to cable TV spots. In fact, according to Christopher Georgia, digital director of AAN, the campaign represents a big increase in the online budget. Last year in conjunction with the midterm elections, AAN spent around 10 percent of its budget online.
The ads launched November 10 and are set to run till today until the House votes on the amendment. "We want to move the needle and to put pressure on Members that may be thinking that the balanced budget amendment is not an appropriate approach," said Georgia.
Generic versions of the ads are running nationally online through ad networks, but AAN is also targeting two specific versions of the spots to districts in Iowa and North Carolina, key 2012 swing states where the group will benefit from building its supporter list and Facebook following in the hopes of getting out its message leading up to the election. AAN typically focuses on House issues and races.
The targeted TV and video ad messages are aimed at people in two key swing districts where House Members are up for reelection in 2012. One is Congressman Leonard Boswell's Iowa district; the other, Larry Kissell's North Carolina district. Both are Democrats. The spots encourage amendment supporters to call their respective legislator. Online, the ads promote AAN's Facebook page, which features a petition garnering valuable signups for the group's growing supporter list.
"Tell him to stand up and do the right thing now," says the video ad, which mentions Boswell and Kissell by name in the targeted versions and focuses on issues such as unemployment, foreclosures, and "out of control spending." The ads running elsewhere across the country feature Rep. Nancy Pelosi.
Yesterday, AAN increased its Facebook ad spending with hopes of capturing pre-vote interest among engaged conservatives, according to Georgia. "We're putting a little bit more into Facebook this afternoon," he told ClickZ yesterday. "It's been our experience that as an issue gains momentum...the buzz and energy around it builds, and you get better response the closer to the end date you get to it." The group is running standard Facebook display.
Targeted Victory, a digital consulting firm that works with right-leaning groups and Republicans, is handling the online ad buy.
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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.
March 19, 2014