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Online Campaign Dollars Mis-Spent? December 14, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.

If this is true, it is stoopid misguided. From a Wall Street Journal interview with Evan Tracey, founder and chief operating officer of Campaign Media Analysis, part of TNS Media Intelligence:

WSJ: What role is new media playing ad-wise this election cycle?

    Mr. Tracey: You will see record spending on Internet advertising in this cycle, but it will still amount to little more than a rounding error when put next to the money spent on television. Right now, the campaigns are using the free part of the Internet — things like email, blogs, and YouTube and MySpace — to fund-raise and take advantage of grass-roots organizing, but not doing much from a paid standpoint.

WSJ: Why aren’t politicians devoting more funds to the Web?

    Mr. Tracey: There was the case with Mitt Romney going through one of these ad wholesalers like Advertising.com, and spots ended up on Gay.com and sites like that. There have been other cases where the campaigns have had similar problems. So there is a trust factor, No. 1. But No. 2, an Internet ad is not a TV ad. It is not going to be something that you can put an unfiltered 30-second message, or an attack ad when you need to do those because with an Internet ad at this point, somebody has to want to see it.

If I were doing a political campaign I wouldn’t use online ads to deliver the message — the way TV is used — but to attract the listener to my site or blog or community where the real communicating happens. You can make people “want to see it” that way. And how much can you trust a message that doesn’t want to be seen to take hold anyway? Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t spend more online than off, but if this is an accurate picture of how online is spent, it sounds like it is mis-spent.

I’d love to hear stories from people who are closer to the front line than TNS mgmt.

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