Obama wins in race for digital attention

The Obama campaign is employing a digital strategy like no other, betting more aggressively on Facebook, display ads, and paid search than Republican candidates seeking the nomination, according to new data from analytics firm comScore.

In fact, the Obama for America campaign delivered 835 million display ads in February, representing 86 percent share of voice for all presidential candidate display ads in that month, according to comScore.

“The Obama campaign outnumbered the combined effort of the four leading Republican campaigns with any notable online ad presence by a ratio of 10 to 1 in the past six months, reflecting a significant difference in advertising strategy between Obama and the rest of the candidates,” comScore said in a report entitled, “5 Ways Digital Media is Shaping the 2012 Presidential Election.”

The report, published earlier this week, looks at the digital media practices of presidential hopefuls. Obama’s approach — blanketing the web with display ads — resulted in 777.5 million paid ad impressions in January. Compare that to just 32.6 million paid ad impressions for Mitt Romney in the same month and you’ll see the disparity in display advertising strategies.

The digital exposure disparity between Obama and the Republican candidates carries over to social channels including Facebook. The Obama campaign delivered 22 percent of its display ads for a six month period on Facebook, where his more than 26 million Facebook fans went on to do the dirty work of social promotion for the campaign. In January alone, Obama’s flock of Facebook followers and their friends contributed nearly 66 million earned media impressions.

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“It is fair to say that on sheer volume of exposure, the Obama campaign is far outpacing Republicans in leveraging social media,” comScore concluded.

That’s not to say the Republicans aren’t trying to compete in social exposure. Likely nominee Mitt Romney, for instance, has invested heavily in Facebook, running 58.2 percent of campaign display ads on the social network during the past six moths, which is the highest percentage for any candidate so far. And Ron Paul is organically popular with Facebookers. The candidate attracted more than twice as many earned impressions on Facebook (30 million) than on paid display ad impressions (12.7 million) in January.

comScore also found a correlation between social supporters and actual campaign donors. Obama’s Facebook fans and their friends donated at a rate 2.5 times that of other donors, though fans donated less on average, according to the report.


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