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Politicians’ Spending on Digital Ads Skyrockets

January 6th, 2012 | Read more articles from 2012 or Visit the News Archive
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Pols Spending on Digital Ads Skyrockets
Originally appearing on Mashable Jan. 6, 2012 by Alex Fitzpatrick

Have you been seeing more ads for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama on Facebook and Google these days? That’s because politicians are dramatically increasing their spending on digital advertisements, according to a new survey conducted by STRATA.

The survey found that U.S. political campaigns in 2011-2012 have spent 100% more to buy online advertisements than they did during the 2010 midterm elections. The information was collected in a flash survey of executives from top political media advertising agencies.

Online advertisements have several advantages over ads in more traditional forms of media. They can be targeted by location and demographic, as Mitt Romney’s campaign did with YouTube ads in Iowa leading up to the caucus. They also provide more accurate data about engagement. It’s easy to tell how many Internet users clicked on or watched an online ad, it’s harder to tell how many radio listeners or TV watchers turned down the volume during commercial breaks.

Which platform is getting the lion’s share of those ad dollars?

Facebook, by a wide margin. 92% of respondents said they considered Mark Zuckerburg’s social network to be the “top social medium of choice” for political advertisements. Twitter was ranked second by 46% of those polled, while YouTube and LinkedIn tied for third at 31%. Google+, which is still relatively new but gaining users at an astonishing rate, ranked last at 23%.

Mobile advertising, however, isn’t yet a major part of the ad game for electoral contenders in 2012. 85% of respondents noted that less than a quarter of political clients have spent money on mobile ads.

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