Scott Brown may boast about driving a truck — but it took YouTube to make those boasts go viral. And of the many lessons being drawn from Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts special election last month, here’s one being kicked around the tech world: Brown closed the GOP’s online strategy gap.Two years ago, President Obama’s campaign was considered revolutionary in its use of online outreach and social media. But today, Google says Brown is the new poster child for effective web campaigns.
“He really blew away the competition, and it showed in his metrics,” Galen Panger, a Google spokesperson, told TPM. “He had twice as many searches on Google [as Democratic opponent Martha Coakley], four times as many followers on Twitter, six times as many fans on Facebook, and eight times as many YouTube video views.”
Rob Willington, who ran the Brown campaign’s online strategy effort, told TPM he knew from the start that Internet strategy would be crucial to his candidate’s chances.
According to Google, Brown set a new record by spending 10% of his campaign funds on online outreach (Obama, by comparison, spent 4%), and Panger said Brown’s campaign was “one of the most aggressive uses of [Google] tools” the company has ever seen. “They used every tool in our arsenal.”
Adwords, display ads, Google Docs, Google Voice, YouTube, “network” blasts — Brown used them all. And for the $232,000 the Brown campaign spent on Google ads, they got 65 million impressions.
“There were 10 impressions of Brown Google ads for every person in Massachusetts,” Panger said. “They picked the towns they wanted to target, and flooded those towns.”
The campaign was able to pick and choose the timing and location of its Google Ad deployments, targeting the weekend before the election, and making a pitch for volunteers.
Google offers free consulting services to politicians of both parties, and their Elections and Issue Advocacy Team has reportedly started staffing up for the 2010 cycle.
Google was so impressed by Brown’s campaign, they invited Willington to give a talk at their Washington, D.C. office earlier this week. (You can watch the video Willington showed at the talk here.)
Google suggested that the tools Brown’s campaign had used were so useful because they were both scalable and easily trackable.
“There is no reason why a candidate for state rep shouldn’t be using the same methods as a candidate for president,” said Peter Greenberger, head of political advertising for Google. “With online advertising you know click by click what’s working and what’s not.”