NDP Out-PPC the CPC

Author: Gab Goldenberg

… while the Bloc Quebecois are seen on AdSense blocks on Cyberpresse, which they seem to be site-targeting. Bloc Quebecois AdWords Ads on CyberpresseA review of a number of Canadian political blogs like Quebec Blogue, Antagoniste Right Wing Editorials, 1337 Hax04 and the Blog Quebecois revealed no Bloc ads, which they would presumably show otherwise if they were running a general content network campaign.

Now, while the decision to aim for Francophone and [mostly] Quebecois readers attention with the site-targeting was a good idea, whoever is writing the Bloc’s ads should be fired. It reads: Federal Election 2008 Bloc Quebecois (keyword), Gilles Duceppe (keyword) Election 2008 (keyword).

It makes no coherent sense. There’s no call to action. There’s no incentive to click. To the Bloc’s ad agency, 1997 called – it wants its meta keyword tag back.

The New Democratic Party, however, have been buying AdWords ads for all sorts of relevant terms like Stephen Harper, and Jack Layton. Their copy is much sounder, featuring an obvious call to action to “Donate Now.” And from doing a number of different searches, it’s obvious that they’re testing different versions of the copy, though I don’t know if they’re sophisticated enough to test for conversions rather than just CTR. Jack Layton search produces NDP Pay-Per-Click Adwords Ad

You’d think that the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC! Gotta love the initials…) would be aware of this and bought their own ads, but nope, nothing there, unfortunately. Google content network ads attack Stephen Harper I Vote For Culture Anti-Harper Attack Ads on PPC

One trend that is consistent across both organic results and the content network is that many third party elements on the left are buying ads bashing Conservatives and Stephen Harper in particular.

It’s ironic in a sense, that the Canadian left – who consider the word “American” an insult and have said that Harper will Americanize Canada – should be adopting many of the American politics’ very own tactics. Like attack ads, for instance.

Of course, these are mostly bloggers and editorialists, so there’s a different mindset behind the copy. And generally, it’s also of poorer quality than you might expect from a professional PPC copywriter.

Some of it seems oriented towards simply getting a message across, rather than getting a click to deliver a fuller message. This is the case for desmogblog’s ad copy, for example. I guess that this strategy of using PPC as [negative branding] display advertising keeps total costs cheaper, though the individual clicks must cost significantly more. I mean, there’s just a message, with no call to action.

The same goes to the left-leaning pollsters asking if Harper is honest. What is the point of the ad? Getting people to respond to the poll? Or get them exclusive offers? And offers of what exactly? Party membership? Political T-shirt ads? iPods? Unclear ads don’t get clicked.

The NDP’s content network ads, however, are interesting, because they feature three calls to action and are quite readable. However, each call to action is quite vague, really.

Once you click through, the landing page is an interesting contrast in displays of social proof.

First, you see a graphic that seems to indicate that the NDP has had a lot of success fundraising. At least, if you accept that $50,000 goal as a high enough target. Mentally, this graph would look a lot less impressive if, say, the NDP asked its supporters to finance only 1/10th of its campaign – $170,000. NDP Fundraising Moving on a couple of days, it appears that the NDP are actually well aware of the impact of social proof, and are carefully manipulating the numbers to maintain its appearance: NDP Fundraising: New Goals 2 Days Later, Still Only 10K over amount raised But then, you get a diametrically opposed view of their campaign’s success. According to this part of the NDP’s landing page, Jack Layton et co. have no friends! Jack Layton has no friends

Hmmm… So much for the social media element of the campaign that the NDP has touted. Looks like that iPod for most friends gained is going to be easy pickings! So while the NDP’s ads were legible, they didn’t get folks to take action in the social media aspect.

Perhaps more important – since the donating stuff obviously worked and wasn’t overly difficult to use – was the friction imposed on people interested in becoming members etc. While I won’t turn this into a post on usability, clear instructions would go a long way towards fixing things there.

How about the Liberals’ PPC? Are they managing their ad spend properly?

Well, it’s not particularly imaginative, but it’s there. On “Liberal Party” and just about nothing else. Not Parti Liberal. Not Stephane Dion. Not impressed.

Liberal Party Adwords

Did the landing page at least save the day for the Libs? Nope… it was just the homepage. If people are searching for your brand, it’s an easy sale. Get the donation, people!

Adwords Parti Liberal - Indepedent Group Advertising Alone

(That’s some independent site advertising on the right; on the keyword Parti Liberal; the Liberals are not advertising there.)

For more on the topic, have a look at Tristan Peloquin’s overview on the parties’ various web strategies (in French). P.s. Sorry if this was initially password-protected: It was supposed to be a guest-post but the receiving party got distracted with campaigning on a bigger stage. No hard feelings.

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