Obama’s National Search Campaign

ClickZ_Campaign08_katefinal.jpgSendTec has a new report out based on research conducted after the last presidential debate. The SEM firm looked at three of the most-searched political keywords: Economy, William Ayers and, of course, Joe the Plumber.

SendTec’s reports have drawn fire from Eric Frenchman, the guy who runs John McCain’s search ad efforts. Rather than delve into that drama, I do want to note one of the key points made in the latest report. According to the company’s research, “McCain is outbidding Obama in the battleground states, while Obama is bidding nationally….”

As an example, SendTec says, “The McCain campaign is bidding on Joe the Plumber and variations of that keyword in battleground states only. McCain is not bidding on these terms in states that are firmly established as either voting Democratic or republican (such as Illinois or Texas).”

In contrast, “The Obama campaign is bidding on Joe the Plumber and variations of that keyword in every state.”

This appears to follow Obama’s television ad strategy, which has also famously involved a lot of national ad buys. It could also be a function of the campaign’s huge campaign budget. Maybe the campaign isn’t limiting its Google buys to specific geographic areas because it doesn’t have to – it’s got enough money to blanket all states with them.

Which leads to my question about McCain’s camp. Is battleground state targeting a result of limited funds, or pure search strategy? It’s probably a blend of the two, but we’ll have to wait till after the election to find out for sure. Obama’s decision to run national ads is a novel one; McCain’s targeted approach is certainly the norm for political campaigns.

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