Amid all the talk of Super PAC advertising this presidential election season, there's only one group spending a significant amount of money online. Pro-Ron Paul group, Endorse Liberty, has spent around $2.7 million on online advertising since late December. And - mirroring 2008 presidential campaign online spending - most of Endorse Liberty's money has gone to Google.
While most Super PACs or independent expenditure groups have focused mainly on television advertising, 98 percent of Endorse Liberty's ad budget has been placed online. According to Federal Election Commission reports analyzed by ClickZ Politics, the organization, which describes itself as "an alliance of entrepreneurs, inventors and creators" promoting liberty, spent more than $2.25 million on Google ads, or 82 percent of its total ad buys through January 15.
The group is driving people who search for Ron Paul on Google to donate to help support the Texas congressman's dark horse campaign for the GOP nomination. Endorse Liberty has also produced a handful of web videos intended to convince voters to pick Paul. Approximately $343,000, or around 12 percent of the Endorse Liberty budget, went to Facebook advertising. For instance, leading up to the Iowa caucuses, the group ran ads targeting Iowa Republicans on Facebook. A portion of that Facebook ad buy went through online ad firm Smiley Media.
Endorse Liberty is promoting a lengthy 12-minute video viewable on YouTube and on RonVsMitt.com. The very end of the video features a clickable button that allows people to post the video and a Ron Paul endorsement to their Facebook pages. Through the videos, Endorse Liberty aims to persuade Republican primary voters to choose Paul; however, the group also hopes to generate donations through the videos and Google ads. Endorse Liberty also spent $50,000 with CampaignGrid, a firm that sells targeted display and video ads to political and advocacy advertisers. Another $36,000 went towards StumbleUpon placements.
Like the candidate it supports, Endorse Liberty's ad strategy is unique among political campaigns. The group has shunned direct mail, robocalls, and until recently, television advertising. Almost 98 percent of Endorse Liberty's advertising budget has gone towards digital ads, compared to just around 2 percent for TV spots. Addtional expenditures have paid for video production.
|Ad Expenditures by Endorse Liberty December 21-January 15|
|Media Firm||Amount Paid||Percent of Total Ad Budget|
|Total Ad Spending||$2,747,272||100%|
Source: FEC data compiled by ClickZ News
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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.
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