Search and Social

What Search Engine Marketers Can Learn From The Obama Health Care Legislation TV Ad Blitz

by Ian Orekondy on August 14, 2009

Yesterday, a coalition called Americans for Stable Quality Care launched a $12 million TV campaign supporting their position on Obama’s health care legislation reform effort. The ad, focused on how the legislation would affect people who have insurance, highlights a provision that protects people with pre-existing conditions from losing coverage. (From USAToday, as reported just a couple of hours ago. BTW: Thanks to Ellen Hoenig Carlson for retweeting this article and bringing it to my attention. You can and should follow Ellen on Twitter here: @ellenhoenig )

So what can health care marketers and search engine marketers learn from yesterday’s launch of the $12 million dollar TV campaign?

As usual, Google Insights for Search reveals several insights. In the chart below, we can see the growth in search demand on keywords related to health care legislation debate.


1. The campaign appears be impacting search demand significantly.

  • We can see that the recent spike in relevant keyword searches coincides with the launch of the campaign.
  • Of course, search demand in this category is likely to have several contributing factors, including the recent increase in dialogue and news stories around the health care debate as well as Obama’s upcoming Town Halls.
  • Cause and effect is often difficult to determine, but the coincidence is pretty clear.

2. The group shelling out the $12 million in TV ads is not benefiting from all of this search demand that they’re helping to generate.

  • Instead of the Americans for Stable Quality Care, it’s the National Association of Manufacturers who is currently managing their paid search marketing (SEM / PPC) campaign to get the very top spot on the Google search engine results page for the same keywords.

  • The Americans for Stable Quality Care do not appear on the surface to be running a search marketing campaign at all.
  • Note: I have not used my typical suite of competitive intelligence tools to confirm this; but rather conducted several searches on the keywords noted above as well as the group’s name, and have yet to find one of their ads anywhere in the Google search results.
  • Additional note: they’re not ranking on the first page of Google organically either.

Who do you think among the major health care legislation advocacy groups is leveraging search engine marketing (and their overall media budgets) most strategically? Who else is missing out?

Leave a comment on my blog at Searchandsocialmedia.com

And follow me on Twitter @iano1000

Note: if you’re reading this on Social Media Today or Business Week Business Exchange, please visit, comment and retweet directly from my blog at Searchandsocialmedia.com There’s lots of other good stuff waiting for you there too. :)

Finally, in case you’re not able to clearly see the keywords in the chart above; here are the specific keywords I used:

- health care legislation

- healthcare legislation

- health care debate

- healthcare debate

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