The Election, Electoral Votes and AdWords Campaigns

Written by Zac Johnson
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The election is now behind us… and so are all of the “Will John McCain or Barack Obama Win?” ad campaigns. So what’s an affiliate marketer to do! Don’t worry, I’m sure there will be plenty more political campaigns for you to start running soon enough. Someone always has an opinion and something to say.

In an earlier post, I wrote how you can still cash in before the new year, and one of the recommendations was to target the before,after and middle process of the election. Everyone knew that there was going to be a ton of attention on the election, no matter who won. With so much attention, it was guaranteed that everyone would be searching online for who won what states and how many electoral votes each site was worth.

I had a few ideas for setting up campaigns before the election, but never really got around to getting them live. With time running out, around 5:30 pm (ET), I quickly setup a Google Adwords campaign on the content network to see if I could still take advantage on the incoming surge of political search traffic. Below are the results from just 5am to midnight.

The volume wasn’t massive, but it was a very quick test run that ended up with 155 clicks and 1,595,268 impressions with only a few hours.

While the numbers aren’t astounding, the purpose of this post is to show the power and potential of targeting every big event and holiday. This campaign was setup within 20 minutes, received over 150 clicks and was made up of only 20 different adgroups. Imagine what could have been done if this was setup with more detail and all throughout the election process? Not to mention playing with keywords, ad groups and ad copy.

For those of you wondering, the offer I was promoting was a weight loss offer, and ended up profitable. It’s usually best to promote a general offer that can apply to most people when your advertising is spread across various news, blogs and web site articles. Just take a look at any of the contextual ads on ESPN, MyWay.com and Breitbart and you will usually see a cycling of weight loss and teeth whitening offers.

Have you setup any campaigns targeted towards the election or recent current events? If not, you have another four years to think about it!

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37 Replies to “The Election, Electoral Votes and AdWords Campaigns”

  1. So, how successful was the campaign? I see how many clicks, but did you get conversions, too? If so, percentage?

    This post is powerful and motivating. You MUST take advantage of trends — it's easy money, if you plan ahead.

  2. zac, did you actually make money on it? i think you should show your stats as well since it was such a small campaign. i've never been able to get the content network to work for me so it would be a HUGE help if you showed exactly how to setup the content network for a general campaign like this.

    1. I didn't include network stats as it was only one lead generated from the campaign… so not much to see. The purpose of the post is to show the potential of volume available whenever a big event or holiday comes along.

      Content network is completely different from search and doesn't work with all offers, and is a whole different learning process. With a lot of volume you can see what traffic works and what does, then remove the worst ad groups, and focus on making tighter/better content network adgroups.

      Try creating a few different adgroups that continually bring you "general" traffic, then you can setup multiple campaigns and see which generate leads, then focus on those. It will take some money (and is also a pain) to see which work, but once you find the ones that do, it's worth it.

      1. ok cool. couple questions:

        1. are those CTR's generally normal for content network?

        2. did you run banners or text?

        3. would you be willing to share the particulars of the adwords campaign? (avg. position, # of kewyords in each ad group, removed sites)

        1. 1. yes, expect low numbers. but if targeted expect much better.

          2. text.

          3. since this was a quick case study, i think it would be more fitting to do a longer test. I will setup a new campaign and follow up with a new post dedicated to adwords success on content network.

          1. EXCELLENT!!! very much appreciated. the post where you explained the green tea campaign (a while back) was awesome. i took that advice and literally made money the next few weeks. now the content network is much harder and i have never been able to figure it out. a general CPA offer would be a great case study.

            btw…i clicked "subscribe to this post" and i dont receive updates when replies happen…not sure why.

    1. Because the type of people viewing these ad groups, were typically general audience. The weight loss overs are converting better on general audience traffic, than most other campaigns. I'm sure other offers may convert better, but this was a quick test to see what volume could be grabbed before the election.

      Go to any news sites and look at their adsense/contextual ads on the site and you will likely see various weight loss, teeth whitening and credit offers.

      If you were to have a political based offer, you would obviously pull a better click through rate, but your margins/commission would also be different. It's all about testing what traffic does what with your offer.

      1. whats the point of using the election keywords, just to get volume? seems like the equivalent of running something on myspace/facebook and just not targeting anything

  3. I have to give this a try. I didn't have enough money to invest into these types of things but I am now working full time, so we'll give it a try.

  4. I set up a presidential campaign to see how much I could earn and didn't do too badly for my first attempt at affiliate marketing. I lost around $20 which is still a loss but I learnt a lot from it.

    Time to scrap those campaigns though and see what I can do!

  5. Wow that is pretty good for such a short time, and like you said if you planned this out throughly through out the election Im sure you would get better results

    1. Since this is a historic election, their will be some value to the Obama signs. Right now the auction market might be a bit saturated with them, but buying up a bunch from local campaign head quarters might be a sound investment for future auctions.

  6. Quick question Zac. I have never targeted the content network, so I am wandering if you specified the particular websites that you wanted your ad to show on. Or did you just let google decide that based on your keywords?

  7. That's interesting that you got one conversion on something not related. I bet it'd be tough to really get going on something like that. ESPN is being taken over by these "damn' quiz things now. LoL

  8. Zac,

    Did you direct link or set up your own landing page for the offer and how would that affect your your CPC short term and long term especially with low click through rates?

  9. I saw a post election campaign asking if Barack Obama bought the election, so there are ways to still get what- surveys? I kick myself for not clicking to see what was there.

    Obama just named his Chief of Staff, that is a name to grab as I don’t know and am sure no one else does either. There will be a spike in searches. But an importnat appointment will be Secretary of Treasury, one could ask now if Obama will ask Warren Buffett to take over. Not a political reality, but enough of a question to get some clicks.

  10. Zac, you give me a big ??? as I ever worked with Adwords. You said target to election related KW and direct link to weightloss site. Don't you get slap from unrelavance LP and KW to bid too much like dollars per click?

    And I know that NO minimum CPC bid for now but it still display if you use Adwords Editor and you'll see estimating for your QS.

  11. The problem I always have is that I think EVERY idea I get is going to make a killing and a lot of the time you can set yourself up for disappointment if you don't really think things through.

  12. I ran a campaign similiar to this one you are showing. Most my traffic came from CNN and I was able to get up to 15k clicks in one day. My best day with this poll campaign was $3,000 in profit. You can definitely cash in on current events…

    1. can you share with us how you struct your keywords for adgroups in content network? you use tightly related keywords in on adgroup or generally keywords in one theme in the adgroup?

      1. No, not too tightly grouped. You want to group them like adjectives. So for example, the ad group Sarah Palin might have some of the following keywords in it:

        Sarah Palin

        Palin

        Alaska Governor

        vice presidential candidate

        palin biden debate

        mccain palin

        etc…

  13. This was an interesting story. You send the customers to a totally non relevant page. I would think that you wouldn't get many clicks for that because Google seems to encourage relevance.

    Was your page an affiliate page?

  14. The world wide web was used a lot during these elections, huh? It's amazing though, especially how Obama used the web for his campaigning. Now that was smart of him.

  15. The election was and still is a great traffic generator. I would had imagine the CPC would be higher. The information you provide in your site is priceless 🙂 ~ Laura

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