TV-Only Mistake #1: Their first mistake is arguing that “no one clicks on Internet advertising.” That’s not true. Internet users obviously click on ads. In fact, “cost per click” is the most accepted metric for display (a.k.a. “banner”) advertising, meaning you budget and plan based on actual clicks. Moreover, display ads aren’t the total sum of Internet advertising. Pre-roll video, social media, email lists and other Internet-based advertising don’t require a “click” to send a message. Hopefully this argument will fade as knowledge of how Internet advertising works becomes more widespread.
TV-Only Mistake #2: The second misconception of the TV-only advocates is that you can win a campaign without using the Internet. This may still be true for a few rural congressional districts. But for the most part, if a candidate isn’t on the Web, he’s at a massive disadvantage. If a candidate concedes the Internet campaign to his opponent, that candidate will be out-fundraised, have fewer volunteers and have an inferior communications infrastructure. Furthermore, research has shown that Internet advertising used in concert with TV ads actually enhances voter recall of the TV ads.
But when it comes down to it, neither side of this debate gets to make the call. “This is a decision the campaign managers must make,” as Feltus says.
So what’s a campaign manager to do?
The answer lies somewhere in the middle. To effectively message to and target voters, campaign managers must rely on both TV and Internet advertising.
Craig Kirchoff produces and edits both television ads and Web content. He lives in Alexandria, VA.