In 2012 online advertising emerged as a mainstay political strategy. At the presidential level, online advertising spend was very different between the two candidates with President Obama outspending Mitt Romney tenfold in display ads. Furthermore, with almost every demographic group, people are getting their information digitally more than in paper format and those who get their information online are more engaged.

Let’s Get Social

Online engagement measures also seemed to be an indicator. On election day, Barack Obama’s online engagement with voters trounced Mitt Romney’s with nearly three times as many Facebook Fans, more than triple the amount of people viewing his website, nine times as many Youtube subscribers and more than thirteen times the Twitter following. Those are remarkable figures when you consider the amount of engagement that happens on these websites.

Engagement and Branding

But just having a presence isn’t enough. More than just presence, it’s also about execution. President Obama’s campaign made better use of many of the most effective tactics to actually get voters to engage with the campaign using landing pages, e-mail campaigns and many other tools to make sure once they got voters’ interest, they kept it. And, his campaigns also were integrated into an overall brand strategy. Branding is an important part of political marketing just as it is with marketing a product or service. After all, the President provides a service and he is a brand, as odd as that may sound to non-marketers.

When it comes to specific tactics that were used effectively online in the Presidential race, video was a huge hit. Voters sought out videos in droves. Fully 66% watched election related videos and 36% of voters watched political advertisements online. And, if you want people to engage with your message, video fits the bill. Fully 62% of voters who viewed videos had been influenced by recommendations from others who had watched videos.

But, What About Offline Advertising?

Outside spending was a new, big factor to consider, but there is some debate as to whether it really was effective. Over $1 billion in outside spending was racked up during the Presidential race this year and more than half of those dollars were devoted to television ads. The burning question is, what was the overall impact of all that spending. Such a large and diverse collection of groups was responsible for that spending, and who knows how each group tracked the results, making it hard to tell how effective all that spending was.

Close to Home

Local elections are being influenced more and more by online advertising, although figures for these expenditures is harder to wrangle. However, one good indicator is union spending, which totaled $1.1 billion from 2005 through 2011. About 54% of that was for state and local candidates plus fees paid for consultants and other service providers.


When done properly online political advertising is a potent weapon to add to any campaign. At Vantage Local, through our political subdivision Vantage Campaign, we are happy to have seen a majority of our political clients succeed; with 8 of the 13 campaigns we ran ads for winning their elections. Get in touch with one of our Vantage Campaign specialists to see how we can help you tailor a solution that maximizes your marketing efforts