Obama Increases Lead On McCain In Online Advertising

    September 4, 2008

Senator Barack Obama’s campaign ran a more sophisticated online operation during the first six months of 2008 and Obama leads Senator McCain in site visitors, candidate searches, and display ads, while the McCain campaign leads in video views, according to a study from comScore Ad Metrix.

Senator Barack Obama

In the first half of 2008, the Obama campaign regularly displayed more online ads than the McCain campaign, averaging close to 92 million ads per month compared to about 7 million per month for McCain. In recent months, Obama’s online efforts have increased significantly with 150 million ads in May and 244 million in June.

"Not only have the two campaigns placed a different level of emphasis on the importance of using online advertising as part of the media mix, but their execution also shows stark differences," said Andrew Lipsman, senior analyst at comScore.

"While Obama’s ads tend to be ‘brand-building’ ads encouraging people to join the movement, McCain’s ads are often issue-oriented. Additionally, while Obama ads have an almost universally positive message, McCain ads feature a mix of positive and negative messages."
While BarackObama.com has captured close to four times the average number of monthly visitors (2.2 million) as JohnMcCain.com (583,000), the McCain site has achieved more than three times as many video views (2.1 million vs. 612,000).

"By featuring video content prominently on the front page of JohnMcCain.com, the campaign has been able to effectively leverage the Web to reach a larger audience with its video campaign messages," said Lipsman.

The number of searches with the term "Obama" was about four times that of "McCain" (5.4 million vs. 1.3 million). comScore says this is likely due to the public’s interest in Barack Obama’s historic candidacy as the first African – American presidential nominee from a major party and wanting to learn more about the background and positions of the candidate.

In an interview Wednesday with Fox News, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that the Internet presents an opportunity for politicians to get their message out and that in the future all candidates will have to run very advanced Internet campaigns.