Google Predicts US Presidential Election Winner!

Well, actually Google itself didn’t, but if AdWords statistics are an indication, John McCain is the most-liked of Internet searchers.

Or maybe the most disliked…

Or just the most expensive as far as Cost Per Click!

We went into the AdWords Traffic Estimator Tool and pitted Senators Obama and McCain against each other in a paid search battle. We got the following results:

Now, McCain’s clicks cost more, and there are more potential clicks on an ad targeting his name than Obama’s. As we’ve stressed in posts before, it is fundamentally important to dive into data when researching keywords and other trends in PPC Management. At face value, one could assume that Senator McCain is searched more and has more ad competition than Senator Obama because he is more popular - and therefore will win the election. There are several variables, however, that could cause this to be quite untrue:

  1. Maybe so many people search for John McCain on Google because they hate him. This could account for the differences in click volume.
  2. Maybe there are a lot of anti-McCain websites bidding on the senator’s name. This could account for the differences in CPC.
  3. Maybe Republicans use Google more than Democrats, or maybe Republicans tend to click on ads more than Democrats.

And there are other factors that could cause a Presidential-Win-For-McCain assumption to be unsupported by this data. When managing your own client accounts, you should use the same kind of critical thinking or skepticism:

  1. Why are people searching for the terms you are bidding on? Are they transactional terms? Are people looking to buy your product when they search for these terms? Are they looking for information? Are they looking for something else?
  2. What kinds of competitors are bidding on your key terms? Are they in the same industry as you? A low representation of advertisers in your same market on key terms could mean opportunity… or it could mean that everyone quit advertising because no one searching for those terms is buying.
  3. What kinds of people are doing the searching? Demographics and psychographics affect click behavior. Figuring out the behavior of your target market can be crucial to your success. Basic marketing skills - not just knowledge of how AdWords or AdCenter work - will give you an advantage over your competitors.

The same goes when analyzing ad performance stats like CTRs, Conversion Rates, and Costs/Conversion. Take time and think through the process your visitors are going through to reach your site and convert (or what prevents them from doing either). Make hypotheses about why users are behaving the way they are and then TEST!

Other websites have talked about political search trends at the following urls:

How we’re using the web in the 2008 elections

Bush & Kerry Battle It Out In Search

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