A Sign of the Times

Katherine Bennett - January 8, 2009

In the last year many search engine marketers and researchers have commented that advertising dollars and people will steadily increase and migrate toward the internet despite the current economic recession.  Some have been skeptical and slow to believe. However, if President-elect Obama is any indication; the internet migration will happen more quickly than we all expected, despite the present economy. President-elect Obama used and continues to use different online avenues such as display ads, mass e-mails, and YouTube to get his agenda and his message to the people. 

During the election, I have to admit I was a little surprised to see an Obama display ad as I checked the internet for articles about the economy. I went to Yahoo.com and he was there. I went to AOL.com and he was there. Even when I was doing online research for my clients I kept seeing display ads with one common theme. The display ads had a simple call to action and took users to a website where they could register to vote. It was simple, but apparently it was effective. Most of the display ad placements I saw were above the fold and were all huge sizes such as 336 X 280 and 160 X 600. I wasn’t even looking for Obama and he seemed to be popping up on the different sites that I was on and even showed up when I checked my e-mails.

Obama utilized mass e-mail advertising very effectively. According to Stephen Greer, Director of e-mail and online fundraising for the Obama campaign, Obama’s e-mail efforts began in May 2007. People were encouraged to sign-up for e-mail updates at several sites online and during different events. E-mails lists were compiled by state and not only were supporters encouraged to sign-up themselves, but also to forward a sign-up invite to their friends; this way more people could be reached; excellent viral marketing.

President-elect Obama continued to use the internet to further his reach by using YouTube.  In December he discussed his economic plans via a YouTube video and he posts his weekly addresses to the nation on his YouTube channel.  His YouTube channel also includes playlists of events and announcements, such as key regulatory appointments, a discussion board, and an area for supporters to subscribe to his channel. 

It’s a sign of the times when the president-elect and his team are so internet savvy. Back in the 1930’s no one thought that television would become the main media source and if you’re thinking the same with respect to the internet, I think you’re sadly mistaken.  The internet migration is here and evolving rapidly. I suggest getting on board.

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