Sunday, 16 November 2008


Barack Obama has been celebrated for the success of his digital strategy, but I was surprised to read in the FT that he spent less than 1% of his budgets on online advertising. He instead focused his spend on producing, maintaining, and responding to content on his YouTube channel, Flickr stream, Twitter feed, Facebook and LinkedIn networks, etc. These costs are manpower costs not media costs.

Should those who depend on online advertising revenues be worried about what this says? The chart below comparing site traffic to Obama's site (red line), McCain's (blue line) and Coca-Cola (green) suggests that only a few brands could depend on this approach.

Firstly, there are very few brands as big as Coca-Cola and yet its traffic is dwarfed by Obama's and McCain's traffic. Secondly, the free PR, news, and public attention and engagement Obama and McCain received is practically impossible in the commercial space for such a sustained period of time. And lastly, few content ideas come along that promise to change the whole way you and your society operate in the way a politcian can claim.

For most brands, online advertising is key to driving traffic to their equivalent of I recommend to my clients using an intelligent balance of online advertising, with search (paid and unpaid), and also social media activities to help drive that traffic. So in answer to the question about if we can make online adverting work, I say YES WE CAN.

More on Obama digital Strategy


martinkelly said...

totally agree, we (Infectious Media)blogged on it last week too. His social media success story for me hid a really poor use of paid for digital media.

martinkelly said...

sorry, here

Tony Effik said...

Good to see you are on top of this issue as well Martin. As people celebrate the Obama social media campaign we need to show he used one element of digital really well, but there are others that he didn't.