NJ Governor’s Race Yielded Small Online Spends

ClickZ News - Politics & AdvocacyOne of the largest and most-watched 2009 elections — New Jersey’s governor’s race — showed that increased digital “buy-in” from campaign decision-makers doesn’t always result in bigger digital media buys.

The state’s biggest contenders for the governor’s seat spent a tiny portion of their media budgets on the Web. The campaign for the winning candidate, Republican Chris Christie, spent just 2 percent of its media budget on Web ads, according to ClickZ’s estimate. Meanwhile, Democratic incumbent Corzine’s camp spent less (quite possibly far less) than 5 percent. ClickZ’s estimates are based on data from New Jersey’s campaign financing and reporting body, the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission.


Christie ’09 General Election
Campaign Expenditures
Media Type Estimated Amount Spent
Traditional/Offline $8.96 million
Online $188,000
Literature, Mail, & Postage $157,230
Total Media Expenditures $9.3 million

Corzine’s online ad spending estimate is cloudy, since the campaign combined cable TV and Internet expenditures, using the “internet/cable” label. So, while the campaign’s total internet/cable spend accounts for around 5 percent of all media spending, it most likely was much less.


Corzine ’09 General Election
Campaign Expenditures
Media Type Estimated Amount Spent
Television $15.47 million
Literature, Mail, & Postage $2.28 million
Internet/Cable TV $947,765
Radio $520,000
Billboards $332,510
Yard Signs $39,900
Newspapers $16,705
Total Media Expenditures $19.6 million

A $7,013 payment to New Jersey news site NJ.com in October was broken out in a Corzine report, but no other online buys listed in Corzine’s reports included information about which media outlets received the money. The campaign ran display ads on the site starting in June 2009; the Christie camp also bought ads on the site.

Christie’s online spending was indicated through payments made to Pennsylvania-based political consulting firm Campaign Grid. The campaign made two payments to the firm totaling $188,000. Though one was labeled as a “research” expenditure, an insider told ClickZ the majority of the money went towards online ad buys.

Christie’s traditional media buys were made through Stevens and Schriefer Group. Corzine’s traditional buys went through Message and Media. According to ClickZ’s estimate, Corzine’s camp spent more than twice as much — over $19.6 million — on media as Christie’s $9.3 million.

Campaign Grid provides an overview of its work for the Christie campaign from its perspective here.

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