March 30, 2020
How Romney, Obama Camps Use Google Ads to Target Voters

How Romney, Obama Camps Use Google Ads to Target Voters


bjbjLULU JEFFREY BROWN: Now we continue out
regular look at the campaign as it plays out in social media and on the Web. For that,
we’re joined again by two journalists from the new website Daily Download. Lauren Ashburn
is the site’s editor in chief and is formerly with USA Today Live and Gannett Broadcasting.
Howard Kurtz is Newsweek’s Washington bureau chief and host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
And welcome back. HOWARD KURTZ: Thank you. LAUREN ASHBURN: Thank you. JEFFREY BROWN:
Let’s start with something, an effort that kicked off this week. It’s the outreach of
the campaigns to Hispanics. We talked about it a little bit on last night’s program. We
did some of the TV side. But this is also playing out, Lauren, online, right? LAUREN
ASHBURN: It is. Latinos for Obama has relaunched its site. It began in 2007 and yesterday got
a big makeover. They now have a new Twitter handle, Latinos for Obama. And on the site,
they have done several things. You can text unidos, united, to your phone and you will
get updates. You can sign in with an email and you will also get updates on your email.
And then there are two other interesting areas. You can find out where parties and events
are in your hometown. So that would be… JEFFREY BROWN: Very local and specific. Right?
LAUREN ASHBURN: Very local. And they have a lot of local chapters that are having house
parties tonight launching this new initiative. JEFFREY BROWN: Both campaigns have this, but
this is an example of targeting a group. HOWARD KURTZ: The Romney campaign hasn’t been doing
as much online. A Romney campaign official told me that they have been through a series
of bruising primaries and been going state by state and they’re just now trying to gear
up for the general election. So when I looked on Twitter, for example, the top search that
came up was a mocking Twitter handle called “Mexican Mitt,” making fun of his Latino outreach
effort. JEFFREY BROWN: All right, now speaking of searches and speaking of targeting, one
thing you guys have been looking at is the way — I think campaigns are using sort of
a corporate model, right, on Google ads. How will you explain this? HOWARD KURTZ: Just
like Coca-Cola or General Motors, the Obama campaign has been very aggressive here is
buying up what are called Google search terms. You can do it on Yahoo! or other search engines.
What does that mean? If you’re sitting at your computer and you want to go to Obama
economy, you’re looking for stories on Obama stimulus, when you get to that page with the
results you will see ads created and bought by the Obama campaign for it to serve up its
message or attack the other guy. For example, immigration reform takes you to an Obama campaign
ad that is titled “Mitt’s Extreme Views.” So it’s very carefully targeting people who
are searching for information online. JEFFREY BROWN: Give us an example. LAUREN ASHBURN:
Sure. Let me show you an example right here that we have. This was the search called Buffett
rule. The Buffett rule, as we know, Warren Buffett, the billionaire, this is a rule that
is basically saying let’s tax people at the millionaire and billionaire… HOWARD KURTZ:
Level. LAUREN ASHBURN: Level, right. So look at this. When you do the search, it goes to
the White House blog, basically, talking about why the Buffett rule would make sure everyone
plays by the same rules. JEFFREY BROWN: So someone types in Buffett rule and up comes
the search, but also comes up the ad. HOWARD KURTZ: Exactly. And that’s exactly what the
Obama campaign wants you to see. JEFFREY BROWN: And the theory is that anyone — someone interested
in the Buffett rule, the campaign thinks might also be — aha, might also be a supporter.
HOWARD KURTZ: Or is somebody was looking for — if somebody is looking for negative information
about the Buffett rule, here’s a dose of positive information from the administration’s point
of view to counter any negative perceptions. JEFFREY BROWN: And the Romney campaign does
this as well, of course. LAUREN ASHBURN: They do. Here’s another example, Jeff. Take a look
at this. When you search for George Romney, Mitt Romney’s father, and you want information,
you will be taken to an ad that is for his son, Mitt Romney, and it takes you to the
contribution page, where you can send in a donation. JEFFREY BROWN: How active — how
often does it change? How much is it tied to events in the campaign or other news? HOWARD
KURTZ: I have a good answer. I have a good answer on that. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes? HOWARD
KURTZ: Again, the Romney campaign, which has been going through the primaries, hasn’t bought
up as many of these Google search terms, George Romney being an exception. But at the same
time, during the primaries, if you searched for information on Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich,
you would often get Romney ads telling you not-so-flattering things about those candidates.
And here’s an example of how agile these campaigns can be. The last couple weeks, the whole flap
about Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen taking a swipe at Ann Romney, she never worked a
day in her life… JEFFREY BROWN: Right. HOWARD KURTZ: … if you searched during that period
for Hilary Rosen, you got an ad bought by the Romney campaign on the Google search page
that says, “Stand with Mitt’s better half,” and it took you to either a video of Ann Romney
saying nice things about her husband, or where you could buy — you could donate and buy
a bumper sticker, “Moms Drive the Economy.” So that was very much. . . JEFFREY BROWN:
So responding right to the news cycle. HOWARD KURTZ: Boom, boom. JEFFREY BROWN: You also
wanted to show us this larger site, right, Moat? LAUREN ASHBURN: Yes, Moat, Moat.com.
And here it is. Moat.com essentially shows you where all of the ads are on the Internet.
So if you take a look at Moat right here, here’s a President Obama ad that was just
seen on Daily Kos or on BlackVoices.com. HOWARD KURTZ: You can actually look at that and find
out where these ads are running and how recently. LAUREN ASHBURN: Right. Nine minutes ago, the
ad ran here. One hour ago, it ran here. And we can take a look. This site is actually
very large. You can just scroll through and see how many of the ads that the Obama campaign
has launched. HOWARD KURTZ: I called someone from Moat to ask why only a few Romney ads
were showing up in the search of the site. And an official there told me that Romney
is doing some online advertising, but their engines are only picking up — are picking
up much more from the Obama campaign, which at this point at least much more active in
the online advertising world. JEFFREY BROWN: Targeted politics, right? HOWARD KURTZ: Exactly.
LAUREN ASHBURN: That’s right. JEFFREY BROWN: Howard Kurtz, Lauren Ashburn of the Daily
Download, thanks so much. HOWARD KURTZ: Thank you. LAUREN ASHBURN: Thank you. urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags
State urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags place JEFFREY BROWN: Now we continue out regular
look at the campaign as it plays out in social media and on the Web Normal Microsoft Office
Word JEFFREY BROWN: Now we continue out regular look at the campaign as it plays out in social
media and on the Web Title Microsoft Office Word Document MSWordDoc Word.Document.8

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