Political online spending hits new heights
Will likely pass radio as the No. 2 medium in presidential campaigns
November 8, 2012
Political spending on television alone is expected to eclipse $3 billion this election cycle.
Online advertising came nowhere near those levels, but it did hit an all-time high, and it will likely finish as the No. 2 medium behind television this election.
The presidential campaigns accounted for most of the internet spending.
Perhaps reflecting the Democrats’ outreach to younger voters, who turned out in droves for Barack Obama during the 2008 election, Obama spent $52 million on online ads this year.
His rival, Mitt Romney, spent half that, $26 million.
That’s according to Federal Election Commission data analyzed by ReTargeter, a San Francisco online marketing agency.
Between them, the two candidates spent $78 million online, up 251 percent over the 2008 election, when John McCain and Obama combined spent $22.2 million on digital ads.
Those spending totals do not include outside political action committees or other political spending, including on ballot issues, statewide and local races.
When those are all added in, predicts Wells Fargo, online will hit $311 million this year, surpassing radio, the No. 2 mass media during the last election, by $41 million.
Online will account for 6 percent of all political spending, compared to 65 percent for television.
ReTargeter also breaks down the spending by month, which presents some telling figures about Romney’s campaign.
After spending just over $30,000 on internet ads in September, the campaign poured $8.13 million into the medium during October. This came as Romney's campaign was gaining momentum in part due to favorable social media reaction to his debate performances.
Obama had his biggest online spending month in July, after Romney had wrapped up the Republican nomination and the Democrats finally knew who they were running against.
Obama spent $8.76 million that month, the biggest outlay for either campaign in any month.
With campaigns that were cut short after it became clear they could not win the Republican nomination, candidates Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum accounted for less than $850,000 combined on online advertising.
Video, display and email advertising saw some of the biggest increases over the last election, all up at least 500 percent.
Tags: ads, advertising, campaign, campaigns, election, internet, obama, online, online ad spending, online political advertising, online political spending, political, political advertising, presidential election, romney, television
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