Ben Carson, Hillary Lead in Paid Search Clicks Ahead of New Hampshire Primary

Voting is underway in the New Hampshire primary today and AdGooroo is again turning to the U.S. Presidential Election in Paid Search.

We examined U.S. Google Desktop Text Ad activity on 36 keywords related to the presidential candidates who are still in the race, as well as the election itself, from January 1 through February 7, 2016.

Leaders by Spend

Election Top Advertisers 

Advocacy groups seeking to educate or influence voters made up 8 of the Top 10 advertisers by Paid Search spend in the first 5 weeks of the year. Bipartisan voter education group, VoteSmart.org, led the field with $156,000 in spend on 21 different keywords, followed by another education organization, Ballotpedia.org ($71,000).

BenCarson.com, the official site of the candidate, ranked #3 with $52,000 in spend from January 1 through February 7. The only other official candidate site to crack the Top 10 was HillaryClinton.com, with $30,000 in spend during the period.

There was another site in the Top 10 ranking devoted to a single candidate, VoteBernieSanders2016.com, with $32,000 in spend. However, that site is from the political action committee Americans Socially United rather than the candidate.

Leaders by Clicks

Election Top Clicks 

Although advocacy groups led in spend during the period, official candidate sites led in clicks. More specifically, 2 candidate sites accounted for nearly 42% of all clicks garnered by the keyword group across all advertisers.

Ben Carson’s campaign may have experienced some setbacks in recent weeks but his site BenCarson.com has been going strong in Paid Search, generating a 28.09% click share on the keyword group from January 1 through February 7. HillaryClinton.com ranked 2nd with a 13.52% click share, despite ranking 9th in spend.

The Top 5 was rounded out by the Sanders PAC VoteBernieSanders2016.com (10.08% click share), VoteSmart.org (9.47%) and TedCruz.org (9.01%). Two other official candidate sites CarlyForAmerica.com (3.55%) and MarcoRubio.com (1.26%) had enough clicks to be depicted in the above chart, while the rest of the candidate sites had click shares lower than 1% and were therefore lumped into the ‘Other’ category along with additional advocacy sites.

Trump Absent But Still a Presence

Election Top Keywords 

Donald Trump’s official site DonaldJTrump.com did not sponsor any of the 36 keywords we studied during the period, or any keywords in the AdGooroo database, leading us to conclude that Paid Search advertising is still not part of the candidate’s campaign. However, Donald Trump is still a presence in the Paid Search competition.

The top Presidential Election keyword by U.S. Google Desktop Text Ad spend from January 1 through February 7 was ‘donald trump’, with $242,000 spent on it by 11 advertisers. Further, the keyword ‘trump’ ranked #5 with $63,000 in spend by 7 advertisers, bringing the combined Trump keyword total to $305,000 in the first 5 weeks of the year.

Seventeen advertisers sponsored the keyword ‘bernie sanders’, spending a total of $127,000 during the period. Next was the keyword ‘ben carson’ ($115,000), followed by the keyword ‘hillary clinton’ ($78,000).

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