GOP Presidential Hopefuls Experiment With Mobile Ads in Early Contests

“Spending on mobile ads by political campaigns this election cycle will take up only a fraction of candidates’ war chests, but the digital teams of GOP presidential hopefuls are busily experimenting with mobile, using it to target specific locations and interest groups.”

Mobile also offers opportunities for targeting more creatively. Before Texas Gov. Rick Perry dropped out of the race last week, his digital strategist, Vincent Harris, was targeting mobile ads within a two- to five-mile radius of the center of campus at the University of South Carolina as well as nine Christian colleges in the state, including Furman and Bob Jones University. The ads were uniquely branded with each college’s color schemes and mascots and directed people to a landing page where they were urged to sign up as precinct captains or take other actions to assist the campaign.

Mr. Harris is also currently running mobile ads for another client, GOP Senate hopeful Linda McMahon, to University of Connecticut students in her home state, and he intends to target New York-bound train commuters. Though he wouldn’t ordinarily think of exceeding 20% of his digital budget on mobile, he anticipates spending as much as a third in that particular race, since Connecticut is densely populated and mass-transit-oriented, making people a captive audience of their phones while in transit.

“I think that it’s smart for campaigns to engage in mobile as the cost is lower and engagement rates are higher than with display ads,” he said.”

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