Bloomberg turns to Google and YouTube to gain ground on rivals

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The value of buying ads on Google is that marketers know they’re targeting a curious audience that might be persuadable, said Stephen Puetz, a Republican political consultant who’s not affiliated with a presidential campaign.

“A lot of voters don’t do more research, but if they do, they go to Google,” Puetz said. “Anyone who’s typing in something about a political issue or the presidential race, it means they’re open to more information.”

Bloomberg’s spending also comes as other Democratic campaigns run short on cash.

Bloomberg’s marketing budget is effectively limitless so far, and unheard of in politics. Through his own digital company named Hawkfish, he’s hired senior executives from the ad world including the former North America CEO of major ad firm GroupM.

In some weeks, Bloomberg has spent more than $750,000 a day on average on Google and YouTube ads — approaching what he spends on Facebook, the other big platform for political ads online.

Several of Bloomberg’s ads received more than 10 million impressions, including a Google search ad saying “tweeting is not leading,” an apparent shot at Trump.

Trump has spent $1.7 million on Google and YouTube ads since Bloomberg began spending. And his campaign is preparing to swamp YouTube on Election Day, having already purchased space atop the website for early November, Bloomberg News reported Thursday.

The campaigns are spending big on the search engine and video site despite a change that Google announced in November that threatened the usefulness of running political ads. The company said advertisers could no longer target election ads with data such as public voter records and political affiliations.

Much of Bloomberg’s spending is on “persuasion” advertising, designed to bring voters to his side, rather than fundraising or email collection, according to research firm Advertising Analytics. Of all Bloomberg’s online spending, 43 percent is aimed at persuasion, compared to 7 percent of Sanders’ online spending, the firm said.

“As a self funding billionaire he does not, at least in theory, need to generate grassroots donations,” Ben Taber, an analyst at the firm, said of Bloomberg.



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