Presidential campaign plays out on search engines

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John McCain and Barack Obama are engaged in an advertising contest on the Internet, where both are buying up keywords from the likes of Google and Yahoo. Ads for the campaigns appear in results when surfers search on keywords and phrases like “Iraq war” and “bailout.”

But McCain is besting Obama in search engine advertising, according to a story in Advertising Age magazine.

One Response to “Presidential campaign plays out on search engines”

  1. Jon:

    The Advertising Age article makes some faulty assumptions to arrive at the conclusion that McCain is winning the ad-search war.

    Ad spending is a useless gauge of the effectiveness of search advertising because search ads are often poorly implemented and therefore wasted.

    Further, the fact that the Obama Web site gets far more overall traffic than the McCain site suggests McCain has a greater need for search advertising. Is that winning?

    Time spent on site is also not necessarily indicative of success; it could simply be that the site is poorly designed and people are spending a lot of time searching for information.

    Ultimately, the measure of search advertising success is whether or not the search engine visitors to your site are doing what you want them to do once they get there: i.e., view a video, download a white paper, sign up for an email update, contributing money.

    Without direct access to the web analytics for johnmccain.com and barackobama.com, it’s impossible to make such a declarative statement as to whether one side is beating the other.