First it was campaign door hangers. Then annoying telephone robo calls at dinner time. Coming for the 2012 campaign: a wave of political ads every time you go online.
CampaignGrid, a Washington-based tech company, has figured out how to hyper-target any website a registered voter visits and drop in political ads aimed directly at the user. [Check out political cartoons about the 2012 Republican presidential field.]
Rich Masterson, the company's chairman and cofounder, says the firm has compiled a list of 135 million registered voters who are Internet users and is ready to help campaigns get to those users.
How'd they do it? CampaignGrid matched the names with those using popular destinations, like auction and dating sites. Once the voter is identified, the firm drops an anonymous cookie into the user's browser, and any time that person visits a site, he or she will likely see a targeted political ad.
Masterson says that such targeting can save a campaign millions of dollars that are wasted on television ads and direct mailers. [See photos of the 2012 GOP candidates.]
The company claims that it can reach 90 percent of Internet users, or more than 210 million people. Masterson says campaigns will spend $200 million to $300 million in online advertising in 2012.
But it won't just be static ads, he said. Voters can expect online video to target them, too. "Video in banner ads is hugely popular with campaigns," Masterson said. "If a candidate films a television ad, they can repurpose and add to the value of the ads for the Internet."