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The Mechanics
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Special Election IL05 Tue Feb 03 2009

Google Adwords War in IL05

il05_adwords.pngI decided to run a little experiment.

As you may know, it is fairly inexpensive to buy search terms on Google so that you can try to direct searchers to your site. So, let's say you own a 24-hour diner in Chicago, and in order to draw traffic to your diner's website, you pay Google to run a short text ad whenever people search terms like "late night diner" and "Chicago" or "Chicago" and "munchies" or "I'm drunk what's still open so I can eat something before I vomit cognac all over my cat."

There is no restriction on the terms you can buy, so if you are Circuit City you can buy the terms "Best Buy" and "Chicago." Wait, that won't work -- Circuit City isn't a thing anymore. OK, if you're Tower Records, though, you could buy "Coconuts" and "Chicago." Better.

So I did a search for the candidates' names to suss out who had bought which terms. And winning the Google Adwords war is...Charlie Wheelan.

Wheelan's ad comes up when you search for Sara Feigenholtz, Mike Quigley, John Fritchey, Patrick O'Connor, Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Fifth District and "Frank Annunzio," but not, uh, Charlie Wheelan.

Sara Feigenholtz is right behind him, appearing on "Patrick O'Connor," "Tom Geoghegan," "Mike Quigley" and the only result for "Charlie Wheelan."

Mike Quigley, John Fritchey and Tom Geoghegan don't seem to have bought any Google Adwords yet.

UPDATE: Over on the Windy Citizen, editor Brad Flora has dug up the likely political operative behind the strategy.

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Jesse / February 4, 2009 12:16 AM

Pure genius post!

I was marveling at the lack of recognition that voters'search plays I the minds of il5 campaigns.

Anna Tarkov / February 4, 2009 12:32 PM

Nice work Ramsin!

Jesse, you also make a good point. It IS interesting to see the candidates shirking online opportunities especially since many of the voters who would care enough to come out to the polls are looking for information about the candidates online.

Bill Hanekamp / February 4, 2009 4:53 PM

Your piece is dead on. One thing to consider though is that a political campaign is extremely fluid, and the campaign season has been truncated considerably. Running Charlie Wheelan's online efforts, I can tell you that things are constantly changing and being tested. We're not shirking anything. Some stuff works, other ideas don't. In short, I only wish our online work was as good as the candidate himself.

Harry / July 8, 2009 4:51 AM

Rep. Franco Coladipietro, a Blooomingdale Republican, said the governor and the General Assembly need to address initiatives that affect not just this year’s budget, but budgets several years down the road. He cited job growth, as well as more significant ethics and public employee pension reforms. “Passing a tax increase right now with making no changes to the structural budget process in Illinois only puts us in a position where we’ll be in the same exact position three years from now,” he said. “And it doesn’t change anything.”
journalism degree AND social service degree

Harry / July 8, 2009 4:52 AM

One of the programs targeted for budget cuts is Illinois Cares Rx, which serves low-income senior citizens and people with disabilities. Gov. Pat Quinn has proposed cutting the program by $40 million, or 25 percent.

english degree AND

Online Musician degree

Harry / July 8, 2009 4:53 AM

As Gov. Pat Quinn ponders releasing prison inmates as a budget-cutting move, he’s taking a huge political gamble that has the potential to sink any chance of him being elected back to the governor’s office. […]

Suburban lawmakers expressed concern with the idea saying it could exacerbate crime and overburden already overwhelmed parole agents.

“It’s a huge mistake,” said st

Online sociology degree

Thomas Westgard / September 25, 2009 11:51 AM

Same thing in the 18th. Do a search for Robyn Gabel, Eamon Kelly or Eb Moran and you get Patrick Keenan-Devlin in the margin. Jeff Smith is apparently too common a name to use this ploy on.

I have trouble seeing this as an effective way to reach voters, and could come off as petty or sneaky. Hard to know, and I guess somebody has to try it first. If they really use the Google Analytics well, they could come away from the campaign with an interesting lesson for others.

dizi izle / October 23, 2009 5:47 AM

FYI, Feigenholtz has engaged me on Twitter. Said she's the only candidate who would fight for women's issues. Presumably, since I'm a woman, that should mean I would vote for her. Ridiculous.

James / November 2, 2009 4:37 AM

Hi I cant believe I just came across this comment "it is fairly inexpensive to buy search terms on Google" I work in the industry and have seen some very expensive search term. Take Debt for example I have recently ran a campaign that saw an average CPC of £27 per click. Now that is not cheap.

BookApp / November 3, 2009 6:44 AM

yes indeed to come up in terms with the google adwords in itself is a very tiring task.

Johnny Ramirez / April 28, 2010 12:45 PM

Google adwords is getting tougher and tougher for an average person especially if you are looking for even middle competitive terms.

Markweee / June 14, 2010 10:48 AM

I've just started studying with the OU ~ infact my 'box' just arrived recently and I've had my first contact with my (lovely) tutor last week. Thrilled to be part of the OU & studying an openings course in Psychology. I live near Kinross, Scotland. social service degree | political science school

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