More than any previous election, search advertising will influence the vote of the presidential election. Google, in its ever-present planning for the future, planned for this shift when it employed Peter Greenberger as part of its sales team. Greenberger's job is to convince candidates that advertising on Google search is essential to political success. Recently, ClickZ's Kate Kaye interviewed Greenberger for his insights into the 2008 election.
Reading Greenberger's statements, you get the idea that spending on search ads will make or break the election. He attributes the success of John McCain and Barack Obama to their paid search campaigns. Greenberger also points out that Hillary Clinton was inconsistent in her Adwords campaign, dismantling it for the last two quarters of 2007 and starting it up again only after the New Hampshire primary.
Of course, polls during those times showed Clinton with a substantial lead. It wasn't until after the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries that a tight race was clear. Some political analysts have suggested that the ultimate difference between Clinton and Obama was that Clinton's campaign was focused on a top-down strategy while Obama's strategy was more grassroots, building from the ground up. Looking at campaign strategies in that light, it makes sense that Obama would engage a response-directed campaign. But Greenberger's job is to persuade the candidates that Adwords is the chicken and not the egg.
Greenberger also talked about how Obama used geotargeting during the Texas primary and how John McCain is ahead of the game in the use of video ads. Read the full interview with Google's political ad guy, Peter Greenberger, over at ClickZ