Google, YouTube and the 2008 Presidential Campaign
Eric M. Appleman Posted Feb. 24, 2008

One cannot talk about the 2008 presidential campaign without considering Google and YouTube.  YouTube did not even exist during the 2004 campaign; it launched in February 2005 and was acquired by Google in October 2006.  In May 2007 Google brought on Peter Greenberger to build and manage a new Elections & Issue Advocacy sales team.  According to Google, its involvement during the primaries and the election "was an extension of the company's mission to make information more accessible and useful to people all over the world."  Examples of Google's activities: Beyond these high-profile activities, one must consider the ways in which the campaigns used Google and YouTube day in and day out.  Posting an edgy1 video on YouTube is a good way to generate buzz.  On a less glamorous note, Google's main source of revenue is search advertising (AdWords), and the campaigns made abundant use of that during the 2008 campaign.

Peter Greenberger, Team Manager of Elections and Issue Advocacy at Google Inc.,
helpfully provided these observations on some of the trends of the 2008 presidential campaign cycle: 
The 2008 election was clearly a watershed year for the Internet and politics. Friends, tweets, videos, and texts received most of the attention, but 2008 may be remembered most as the election when campaign advertising dollars began the inevitable migration online.

In 2004, less than 1% of presidential ad dollars went online. In 2008, we saw the presidential candidates spend almost 5% of their advertising budgets online. According to analysis done by ClickZ, Obama spent more than $7.5 million on Google in 2008, about 45% of his total online advertising spend. His online investment clearly paid off: Obama collected more than half a billion dollars in online contributions from over 3 million donors, according to data the Obama team reported to the Washington Post. His new media director, Joe Rospars, said publicly that the Obama campaign saw "ridiculously high" ROI from Google AdWords of 15:1.

Both Barack Obama's and John McCain's campaigns used online advertising from early on in the primary season and continued to invest in digital throughout the course of the election to...

1. Raise money

2. Set the record straight

3. Persuade undecided voters

4. Mobilize local voters

About Peter and his team:

Peter joined Google in May 2007 to build and manage a new Elections & Issue Advocacy sales team dedicated to introducing Google solutions to political campaigns, committees, and issue advocacy groups.

Previously, Peter grew the public affairs division of New Media Strategies, a Web 2.0 marketing firm, working with clients such as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Discovery Networks, Ford Motor Company, the Granholm for Governor campaign, Merck, Inc., Wachovia, the Washington Redskins, and XM Satellite Radio.

Prior to joining New Media Strategies, Peter spent ten years working on presidential, gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and Congressional campaigns. Most recently, he managed Congressman Brad Carson's 2004 United States Senate campaign in Oklahoma.

During the Clinton Administration, Peter worked in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs as the Director of Congressional Correspondence. In this role, he coordinated all written communications between the White House and the Congress.