Barack Obama has made great strides in utilising technology and social media to his advantage. But it seems that in at least one field of Web advertising, John McCain is beating him.
Being successful in the world of politics is no longer just a case of having the strongest policies, being the best orator, and having a face that fits. In this technological age, the Web, and getting your name and views to all corners of the Internet, has changed the game substantially.
Barack Obama is probably the most Web-savvy Presidential candidate there has ever been. He’s certainly more in tune with the Internet and its millions of inhabitants than George W. Bush could ever claim to be, although that isn’t exactly hard.
Obama has his own social network at My.BarackObama.com and his campaign has even used the much-maligned Twitter to keep supporters up to date with the latest news. When Joseph Biden was announced as Obama’s running mate last week, text messages were even used to declare the news.
However, according to the Wall Street Journal, John McCain has been winning the battle of Internet search marketing. McCain’s campaign has been busy buying up spots on search engines such as Google for terms likely to be searched for by Obama’s supporters. So a search for Joe Biden would display an advert for McCain’s site with the words “Joe Biden on Obama”.
This strategy of advert ambushing has been used by McCain’s campaign for wider search terms such as “US Economy” and “Housing Crisis” also. When your average Web user searches for one of these key factors in deciding who to vote for come November, they’ll be taken to McCain’s site to hear his views on the matters rather than to Obama’s.
So while Obama is catering for his own supporters brilliantly with the social network and Twitter updates, he’s ultimately failing to connect with undecided or floating voters whatsoever. Assuming that they like what McCain has to say on the key issues being targeted by ads, they are much more likely to vote for him than Obama come election time.