Many people are buzzing about how snazzy 2008 presidential campaign sites are with their slick designs, multimedia content, and social networking tools, but how many campaigns are taking advantage of Internet text ads?

Awhile ago I took a snapshot at who are buying Google text ads for searches for both democrats and republicans presidential candidates and found that only Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Barack Obama bought ads for these searches.  Wired has taken a broader look at presidential campaign text ads in an article today. 

Sarah Lai Stirland reports that only the McCain and Mitt Romney campaigns are buying ads for issue and news searches. 

Text ads are incredibly useful since they are much cheaper than other forms of advertising, and since they're based on what people actually search for, organizations that use these ads can target their advertising dollars towards people they can better identify as a likely customer, voter, etc.

Richard Ball, founder of Baltimore based search engine marketing firm Apogee Web Consulting, blogged and was subsequently quoted by Wired that: 

For less than the cost of postage, a presidential candidate could have acquired a visitor to their election campaign website. How much would a direct-mail advertising campaign have cost to acquire 1,820 visitors to their site? How much would a radio or TV or print-ad campaign have cost to generate that much interest?

Stirland's article concludes with the fact that the vast majority of presidential campaigns have ignored Internet text ads and are likely missing out on a great campaign resource.  She also quotes Eric Frenchman, political Internet marketing strategist at Connell Donatelli in Washington, D.C, as saying that since people are interested in news and issues candidates should advertise on keywords that they take clear, strong stances on in hopes of luring people to their web sites.  Frenchman is a good guy to talk to since Connell Donatelli is managing McCain's on-line advertising.

As people wonder how political campaigns — perhaps even the candidates themselves — will further embrace social media tools like using videos and social networks to better connect with individuals in upcoming elections, maybe they'll also use text ads more to connect with a broader, yet targeted, crowd.

The Bivings Group's Fred Thompson Disclosure