Personal Democracy Forum 2008

Just showed up at panel.
Michael Bassik: Avg Corporations are spending 9% of ad budgets online, political campaigns are actually spending .4% on line. 4.6 $B will be spent, but only .4 is what is being spent. 2% in Presidential campaigns, but much less in local and regional contests.
Almost all will be in direct until about October. But minimal amounts.
For the first time, the 2 parties will have strange roles, as candidates are going to have to opt out of federal election rules, used to be all the money went to the parties. Now this won't be true.
IN 2004 Republicans used Atlas, streaming media, etc.
Kerry and DNC, lots of testing on ads.
85% of people who clicked through and donated never had donated before.
Had ads saying Kerry had won debate on line- did testing to see if people would remember or interpret this after having seen ad, based on cookie. They did research study. People who had clicked through got pointed to vote in polls on online news sites.
Even asking for money increased Kerry approval rating.

From Hillary campaign - data - banners performed well - 85% of contributors who clicked through and donated hadn't donated before. People often donated up to 2 additional times. They asked for $5 and that hugely outperformed.

Katie Harbath from the Giuliani campaign - anything she could get money for she had to show a direct return. They did a little banner ad, didn't get the Clinton sized or Kerry sized returns. Test was too small, so don't do such a small budget.
They did search ads for Giuliani's name and all misspellings. For Paid ads - they'd focus on the issues of the week or 12 commitments, and they'd go to donation pages. They raised significant money during the end of the campaigns - when staff announced that they weren't taking money, people went to google, saw this in Ads, and donated.
Search can be very effective. Paid email lists including TownHall - were very effective.
Much action taken by 35+ but these were opt-in lists. commercial lists less effective.
How broad did you go on keywords?
Yes - they did 9/11, Iraq, energy, etc - not as successful. War on Terror and Energy got the most donations.
On search - direct to issue pages or donation pages or email sign ups?
If you got to an email sign up page, next page you got was a donation page. But they got more donations than email sign ups.

Josh from Sphere - recently bought by AOL. Started as a Blog Search Engine - got the "sphere it" widget. Trying to "democratize" the blog content.
They're now on Wall St. Jounal, NYTImes, Wash Post. Non partisan, etc. Democratize media is the core mission of the company. As the political season exploded - several sites wanted to partner. CNN, Real Quick Politics, etc.
Developed a tool whereby a publisher could decide whether to link to liberal or conservative sites. Liberal sites linked like-minded. Republicans of the same way- only like-minded.
Poll of audience - most people read both like and anti-their views content. But in the US most people read news that confirms their views.
Week before Super Tuesday, Obama campaign bought all their impressions for the whole week - all their ads. The ads are next to 'related content on same topic from media and blogs.' They monetize it with ads - Obama campaign bought it all.
Harkening back to % spend online - he heard Obama campaign spent more on an absolute basis than any other campaign, and on a percentage basis more than what was noted before.
Can we attribute this to his success? Michael says - yes - lots of performance based ads towards get out the vote and small donations.

Moderator - back in the old days when everyone was getting info from TV and Newspapers, now everyone gets info from net - and you can target ads on the net more closely - on TV media markets, you can't segment ( to sell to Maryland, you have to get DC metro).

Katie: Google lets you draw a circle on a map and only target those areas. Not perfect, but you can get Congressional districts, state senate, etc.
Michael: Risks - Romney ads shows on - ad network mess up. Ad networks need to fix this issue.
Continuity Gap - Coke - in 1998 - you should buy Ads on AOL - they learn, year over year.
Political campaigns exist for short periods of time - so there's a lack of continuity and lack of research and experience.
Publishers make it hard to advertise on line. There are a trillion ad specs which make it hard to advertise. Old media bias - I'm going to do what worked in the past - so until a new class of consultants arises it's a challenge. WHere they expect the one person in the "internet area" to do everything - where as in traditional media there's a cameraman, sound man, makeup person, etc. the internet staffer has to do creative, do the buys, etc.

Ads are moving also into "Get out the Vote" online - not just fund raising.
No metrics, but seems like it did work for Obama.

Moderator: Online allows easier A-B testing instead of TV ads. Is it the environment or the economy? Online you can tell. But website address for candidates are on billboards, bumperstickers, etc. but not on their computers!

Katie: Not just 24 and under. 66% of people under 30 are on social networks, and online will get you upper 20s and lower 30s now, where it wouldn't in the past.

Question for media bias: Why do we have to work so hard to get money? TV campaign ads are terrible and not trackable.
Katie: Show me a campaign that won on the Internet. That's what campaigns ask.

Question/comment - time spent online is increasing - why does internet continue to be held to such a high direct response bar? Guy sells ads for AOL - how can we show relevance?
Katie: Showing them stats eventually got her ability to do what she wanted.

Michael: need a bigger commitment from publishers vis a vi research - if client spends certain amount - you'll do a dynamic logic research study. Needs scalability - how much further would industry be if there was only one way to deliver ads or videos.
HG comment: and all cars should be Black Model Ts?

Question: circumventing ad listening bias - if you do a lot of ads then do poll, people even who say ads don't work for them, will respond with name recognition. Mere exposure to ads increased people's beliefs.

Henry from Blog ads - ad formats are still evolving.

Michael - wants standardization like print, radio, and tv.

Katie: This is the longest election season we've ever seen.

Q: Can the political advertising industry be standardized?
Michael: most ad networks they're working with will work with them in a standard way.

Moderator: Field directors have consultants who help them.

Michael: Every other industry who interfaces with a campaign is outsources - internet person who's usually a techie - gets all the brunt of that stuff.

Thought: to get around stale placement issue - find way to build creative that allows better a/b tests - how can we effectively?? - damn wifi went down. managed to save these comments.

Moderator: Direct mail, tv campaigns take time.
Internet can be nimble, quick and topical.

Katie: Lots of good ideas, but difficult to find bandwidth to do all these ideas.

Michael: can do very quick turn arounds, already have tags and can change creative and messages quickly - not a tech issue- a QA process.

2 weeks to launch a blog ad - 2 weeks for the client to make the decision., 18 revisions, $1000 - not exactly lucrative.

On Hillary campaign - they had ads for Clinton - asking for $5 or $50 with the same copy and creative - not for bluecollar vs white collar - testing responses on different sites.

Advertisers would rather do 1 ad in Wash post than 3 weeks doing multiple sites and blogger outreach. This is done quickly, even overnight. 3 weeks of work vs 1 day of creating a Wash Post ad.

Q: Corporates do branding ads, and do tracking, whether those people will be more inclined to buy tide, etc? Why not use non-political research?
Michael: people say we're not selling soap. IAB did XMOS studies - Market A - TV only, Market B - 70% on TV, 30% in Internet - same budget, similar markets - huge percentage in reach and frequency. But politicos don't believe it.

Q: Why aren't universities doing this research?
M: Money has to come from campaigns to do the research.

End of Panel



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