Friday, March 16, 2007

Make the Most of Google in 2008

Political Campaigns need to leverage multiple media to reach their targets, Google offers several different services that integrate campaigns with the internet. Panelists talked about Google services, website optimization and other tips for reaching targets. Google's AdWords, Google Analytics, Google AdSense, YouTube and YouChoose were among the highlighted products for campaigns taken from a one-sheeter: Google Product Guide for Politics is available in the Amphetheater.

Derek Kuhl, David Alpert & Steve Grove

Google Products (sourced from Google Product Guide for Politics and
AdWords allows advertisements to appear as sponsored results on search results pages, these ads target an already actively interested audience. Google Analytics works with AdWords to provide free information on visitor behavior. Campaigns can also enable Google Alerts which provides updates on specific keywords as their usage evolves. This is useful for determining what works, what doesn't and what needs to be changed. AdSense allows campaigns to have their ads posted on websites with pertinent content, again placing the message to targeted audiences. YouTube and YouChoose are less controlled communication channels because they facilitate open feedback. This increases risk, but provides the chance for campaigns with direct feedback and viewer interaction with the politician. With demographics similar to the population of the United States, content and tags act as targeting elements. Both channels allow campaigns to post content online. YouChoose allows politicians to build personal profiles, post and upload videos and communicate with users.

Tricks of the Trade: a couple things to keep in mind when integrating the Internet
Hello Internet - Where to begin?
Strategies: A question was asked about strategies, whether or not to use them and how to develop them. Campaigns should develop strategies based on campaign goals and messaging when deciding the role of the Internet. The Internet is a widely used medium, but is distinct in many ways from other more established media channels, such as television and radio. The Internet can be thought of as a combination of several media including television, radio, electronic games, and print. Internet users watch, listen, read and interact with content often individually. These elements should be kept in mind when developing execution tactics. For example, in order to engage an individual developers should decide which senses to trigger and how. Internet is a great medium because of its engagement potential.

Websites: Google and other search engines use crawlers (a computer application) to sift through pages when a user inputs a query. These applications look for specific elements, including keywords, that trigger them to select any given site to catagorize as a "result." For more information on how search engines function, John Battelle's book The Search is a great source of information; his blog: When creating a website, designers should consider keywords that their target are likely to use. These words should be integrated into the site as appropriate. Search engine crawlers cannot crawl all content and webpages - if you want to be found, you must be searchable. Alt tags can be attached to pictures to inform crawlers of picture content. Javascript pages and pages with robots.txt enabled cannot be searched. This is where Google's services can come into play. Google Analytics can help choose the best keywords for the target and track its use.

Content Based Internet Options: YouTube and YouChoose are full engagement Internet options. Users watch and listen to videos, read user feedback and post their own responses. I think these channels are more risky, but have a higher viral potential in many cases compared to traditional Internet advertising. One question was raised about what content to use. Content is the deciding factor when it comes to viral potential. Panelists said content should be real and genuine. One panelist referenced Jet Blue's public relations crisis communications campaign as an example of a successful use of YouTube after the session. After the incident in February, Jet Blue CEO, David Neeleman, posted a video on YouTube speaking to the public about the situation and what actions JetBlue was going to take.

What to take away: Neeleman speech wasn't obviously scripted, he was speaking directly to the viewer, his speech was short and easily understood and his message was relevant to the viewer.

At the End of the Day

The Internete is necessary and Google can help. Creative needs to be tailored to the users: What are they interested in (AdWords); Where are they going to be (AdSense); What's new (content driven sites: YouTube & YouCHoose '08); Google Analytics assis with campaign results break-down.


gary said...

There are other ways to reach the voters besides google, for instance...


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