Candidates and Web Spending
by Jason Williams, Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 05:25:27 PM EDT
Mediaweek's Mike Shields, via Reuters, not many candidates dumping dollars into web outside of search ads, social media:
...with six weeks or so to go before Election Day, not many watchers are expecting a sudden surge.
According to Borrell & Associates, political spending on digital media should double this year vs. 2008, reaching $44.5 million. Despite that hefty growth rate, “that’s really not much,” said Kip Cassino, Borrell’s vp of research. Some estimates place digital spending at 1 percent of total political media dollars...
Perhaps the biggest factor holding back digital spending is political consultants’ love affair with TV, which, according to Cassino, gets two of every three dollars spent in this arena. TV has a long track record of getting people elected, particularly in local congressional races, where a candidate might be running “for the 10th or 11th term,” said Cassino. “So they hand digital planning to the kid who comes in as a volunteer.”
A case of "you're not doing it because it doesn't work," or "It's not working because you're not doing it right?"
No surprise that campaigns would be more hesitant than corporations in search of branding when it comes to taking a financial risk, and no question there is still surprisingly little empirical info out there to show the exact return conslutants and campaign managers need before spending, but I think it's less complicated than that.
It's a mid-term and older voters get online for Facebook, not news.
Committee's, candidates, and campaigns have realized the fundraising potential of younger web-savvy voters, and are happy to exploit it. But when it comes to GOTV, the majority of candidates from both parties are still checking for AARP cards more than they are testing the most effective way to get younger voters out to... you know, vote. Ignore the misleading headline and this NYTimes piece on "college voters" and you have all you need to know. On issues from gay rights to the environment, these voters are progressives. The DNC gets it, but doesn't know how to use it. State parties are waking up to it, but don't know how to use it. All of the risk is being placed on individual candidates, and individual candidates don't take risks when it comes to campaign spending. They ask "what's working" and they're being told "TV." Probably sound advice in many regions and races, but everywhere? Still? Doubtful.
Low hanging fruit and all with older voters in a midterm, but what opportunities have been (are being) missed not just in 2010 but in building a solid core of more progressive voters?
Given a choice between trying to woo voter who might at least partially be suspicious you have a death panel lined up for them on November 3rd, and the 2008 first time voter who just needs a reminder we have these things called midterms, I know where I'd be spending a little more time and money.
Hell, just give "the kid who comes in to volunteer" a team!