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and whether presidential year elections, non- presidential year elections, or both

• Primary voters • McCain, Obama, or “other” voters • Degree of “political engagement”

They ultimately elected to target three distinct

groups: 1) Highly engaged registered Republi- cans who voted straight Republican, 2) Highly engaged moderate-to-conservative Independents who’d demonstrated a capacity to vote Repub- lican in previous elections, and 3) Highly politi- cally engaged moderate-to-conservative Demo- crats who’d also demonstrated a capacity to vote Republican in previous elections. Resonate’s re- search-based methodology and proprietary tech- nology enabled the campaign to effectively and efficiently reach and engage these highly targeted audiences quickly. The results were exceptional. We placed nearly

five million precisely targeted premium ads across 24 sites during the seven-day period leading up to the election. Click through rates were as aggres- sive as .525%. Highly correlating sites included but were not limited to Fandango, TechCrunch, Sci-,,,, and Beliefnet. “Reaching voters on the Internet has become

twice as important as radio listeners for GOTV efforts,” says Rob Willington, who managed new media and online strategy for the Brown campaign. “Online, you can reach exactly who matters to your campaign with the best message to connect with them, especially if they are an audience that is traditionally under the radar. This unique and criti- cal ability is why Resonate was an integral part of our online advertising spend.” Attitudinal Targeting™

came about when

George W. Bush’s political director, Sara Taylor Fagen, and issue advocacy pioneer John Brady set out to apply microtargeting online with a similar level of precision that they were able to achieve within their respective markets offline. Resonate serves ads to voters where they spend their time online based on very specific crite- ria that go far beyond basic demographics and party affiliation.

Using its political targeting attributes—and defining the audience profiles of voters


candidate needs to reach—we effectively deliver ad campaigns that reach specific voters with tar- geted messages on the websites with the highest concentration of the desired audience for a more efficient ad buy and budget spend. As described

above, for the Scott Brown campaign, we were able to deliver ads through a unique mix of web sites chosen for their high concentrations of these target audiences, fulfilling the Brown campaign’s audience objectives. Finding people of

various political persua- sions online may seem like an easy task—don’t all the conservatives hang out at FoxNews. com, and don’t all lib- erals frequent Dai- Not so. We have found that these supposedly obvious as- sumptions don’t hold true. Resonate knows that if a campaign is trying to reach inde- pendent males, it can reach a higher concen- tration on Economist. com than on CNBC. com. If a campaign is trying to reach inde- pendent women, more of them will be found at than on And if a campaign is looking to brew up Tea Party activists, it needs to advertise on rather than (yes, really). Finally, there is a higher concentration of Obama voters to rally on than the more obvious pick, Most political advertisers buy ads on expensive niche political sites with small audiences—the places where diehards go each month to wave the flag and read the news. Unfortunately, those sites only reach a small fraction of supporters at high cost with low impact. Attitudinal Targeting™


advertisers reach supporters across tens of thou- sands of other sites that their target audiences are most likely to visit online. Naturally, many factors came into play in Brown’s win—such as voter distrust of incumbents—ebut the argument can be made that his team’s online sophistication sealed the deal.

Bryan Gernert is CEO of Resonate, a research-based online advertising targeting company that enables politi- cal advertisers to reach and engage with voters based on values, beliefs and attitudes.

December 2010 | Campaigns & Elections 61

If a campaign is looking to brew up Tea Party activists, it needs to advertise on Hollywoodlife. com rather than (yes, really).

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