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Google case study: Republicans scored in quick response to Grimes

Google case study: Republicans scored in quick response to Grimes

Credit: AP

by Joe Arnold


Posted on July 19, 2013 at 1:12 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 19 at 6:48 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- As Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes looks "very much forward and excited to the July 30 kickoff" of her U.S. Senate campaign, Google has produced a case study contrasting the Grimes campaign's initial lack of a digital presence with the National Republican Senatorial Committee's rapid online response.

The case study was provided to WHAS11 by the NRSC.

It is the search engine's first study for use in the 2014 edition of their "Four Screens to Victory" website.  Google shares key observations about the use of their products and best practices with campaigns, committees, and consultants.  For instance, in May, Google released an analysis of how the Obama re-election campaign used YouTube to engage voters.

Google's NRSC case study explains that -- while Grimes' campaign had no Internet presence for days after she announced -- the NRSC created a micro-site within 48 hours and quickly wrote search advertising copy specific to Grimes' announcement.

So, when people "Googled" Grimes in the first few days after her Senate intentions became known, the top search engine results were of websites hosted by people opposed to her, such as the NRSC's GrimesForSenate.org site which links Grimes to President Barack Obama.

"Running a search ad enabled the NRSC to shape voters’ perceptions of Grimes," the case study concludes.  "Meanwhile, neither Grimes or her supporters appeared in either paid or organic search results."

A spokesman said Thursday that Grimes' campaign has since increased its bid for top placement on search engine results.  More significant, added Jonathan Hurst, was a report that the Mitch McConnell campaign had hired twenty consultants for his campaign.

The Grimes campaign's website, AlisonForKy.com, launched July 5, four days after her July 1 announcement.  Hurst said since then, user traffic on the official Grimes website had far outpaced visits to the fake websites.

"It's not how you start, it's how you finish," Grimes said on Thursday when asked about her relative lack of exposure in the 17 days since her announcement.  "And my record of finishing is finishing strong here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Grimes bristled when asked about McConnell's suggestion that she had gone into hiding after her announcement.

"I will not be bullied," Grimes said.  "And my first and foremost priority is serving as Secretary of State.  And since announcing my intentions on the First of July, I have been serving as Secretary of State as well as building a successful campaign, one that can cross the finish line, successfully."