The Romney campaign estimates that one-third of voters in Wisconsin (where the primary was held this past Tuesday) won’t see political ads on local television. While the majority of campaign funds will still go to television advertising, the effectiveness of this platform is rapidly becoming negligible. These voters are increasingly being sought online instead.
An article in the New York Times explains the change in strategy.
The Romney campaign and a team of online behavior analysts have spent 18 months trying to fight television advertising’s law of diminishing returns, sifting through data on the browsing habits of tens of millions of computer users as the campaign builds a richly detailed cache of potential supporters.
In doing so, Mr. Romney’s strategists are hoping to turn the Web into a political persuasion tool, signaling a shift in the way modern campaigns view digital advertising. It is no longer merely a supplement for traditional media like television. In some cases, it is a substitute entirely.
A survey conducted last May on voters’ television viewing habits, which is often cited by Romney advisers, found that 31 percent of likely voters had not watched television “live” — that is, at the time it was being broadcast, as opposed to online or on a recording device — in the previous week. And of the 17 percent who said they mostly watched programs recorded on devices like a D.V.R., a large majority skipped through ads most of the time.
Online outreach is still in its infancy, but it’s becoming clear that the internet is the battleground of future elections.