Archive for April, 2009

“Google blast” helps people think about metrics

by Team Politics
Saturday, April 4th, 2009

Democratic candidate for New York’s 20th Congressional district Scott Murphy employed his Google ads in an interesting way in the 36 hours leading up the Mar. 31 election:

From late Sunday night through noon yesterday, ads for Democratic contender Scott Murphy blanketed Web pages viewed by residents of the district…

The tactic tested by the Murphy campaign involves serving up ads on behalf of one advertiser on most or all of the Google content network pages generated within a short period within a specific geographic area, in this case New York’s 20th congressional district and some surrounding areas to catch local commuters at work.

So basically, if you live in Oneonta and were on the Internet anytime yesterday, you saw a Scott Murphy ad. This is certainly a neat way to leverage the Goog’s considerable reach, and may have worked (maybe, Murphy is up by like 59 votes and the election will be decided by absentee ballots). The most important piece of info people in my field can grab from Murphy’s Google blast is this teachable moment from Phillip de Vellis at Murphy Putnam Media:

This late in the game, the goal is no longer to get voters to click through to drum up donations or recruit volunteers. It’s to convince undecided voters to vote for a particular candidate, or remind supporters they need to vote. “We’re just trying to persuade them to vote for our candidate instead of the other candidate…I know that [the ads are] going to have a really low click-through rate,” said de Villis.

Campaigns are pretty unique creatures, so this sort of “ultimate branding” won’t be embraced by everyone. But the perspective shown by de Villis and the Murphy campaign is refreshing. Advertising/communicating online can give you every metric in the world, but you have to have the wisdom to know which ones match the tools you’re using. If you’re “Google blasting,” then you aren’t going to get a high CTR. If you’re using Blogads, your effective CPC will be low, and you’re engagement will be great, but you aren’t going to get a ton of traditional branding value out of your ad. If you’re evangelizing on Twitter, don’t expect a ton of brand value, but expect some engagement (if you’re using Twitter correctly). It’s up to us as communications pros to learn what works and to teach our clients what to expect.