It should be obvious from Obama's 2008 Presidential Election that the web would begin to make a difference in political campaigning. But, there is still hesitation to use the Internet extensively in political campaigns.
Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign dismissed the Internet many campaigns still ignore Internet mass media audiences and focus exclusively on old-school direct mail, phone banking, block walking and television. Less than 10% of political consultants believe the internet is an effective channel to reach voters.
What accounts for candidates’ and consultants’ delay in embracing digital strategies, including online web advertising? Many political strategists dismiss the Internet because they think it does not reach the “right” people. For them the Internet is seen as a medium for the younger generation who do not vote in the same numbers as, say, older retired voters.
Yet, according to eVoter Institute research the majority of all voters (87%) today expect candidates to have an official rich media web site and 70% expect them to use it to raise money and for posting videos. 67% of voters expect candidates to use on-line ads, webcasts and campaign video on other sites. http://evoterinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/evi-survey-findings-2009.pdf
The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project April 2009 research report titled "The Internet's Role in Campaign 2008," revealed that some 74% of internet users--representing 55% of the entire adult population--went online in 2008 to get involved in the political process or to get news and information about the election. http://collindemsorg.blogspot.com/2009/10/more-people-rely-on-internet-than.html
The two most commonly thought of elements of a digital campaign strategy tend to be e-mail and a static bill board Web site. In 2010 that type of limited internet strategy is badly out of date.
The modern digital strategy employs campaign websites with rich media, videos and plenty of interactivity through social media channels with contextual web advertising to drive people to the rich-media campaign website.
Relatively cheap web ad buys are employed to drive people to the official rich media website to watch streaming video and television-style campaign ads and listen to podcasts. (CPM cost per thousand web ad impressions as low as $9)
Persuasion comes in many forms. It happens when people are persuaded to click a web ad to go to a candidate's or advocacy group's media rich website where they can be persuaded to give money, or send their e-mail address and cell phone number for future communication, to follow on Twitter or to even change their mind about a candidate or issue.
The modern digital strategy can be used for reinforcement as well as persuasion, by bolstering other traditional fund-raising and get-out-the-vote programs, including direct mail, phone banking, block walking, yard signs, apparel and old media television and radio buys.