The Internet seems endless — like an infinite universe of gigabytes for tweets, Facebook photos and kitten videos.
And that’s got ad buyers for campaigns fretting the way they used to about TV and radio space: Whoever snaps up those last few prime-time spots in the final weeks of the campaign shuts the other guy out.
Search ads and display ads are more plentiful and are still available to campaigns. The ads in question are those 15- and 30-second spots that automatically play before videos on YouTube, Yahoo, AOL and other sites — and they’re either sold out in some markets or will be auctioned off at record prices, insiders tell POLITICO.
“There has been incredibly strong demand for online video advertising inventory in targeted states, so there is virtually no 30-second inventory left for the fall,” said Rob Saliterman, head of Republican advertising outreach for Google, which owns YouTube. Campaigns are “buying it up for September and October and the first week of November.”
Kari Chisholm of Mandate Media feels the pain in Nevada, where the firm is handling online strategy for Democrat John Oceguera’s bid to unseat Republican Rep. Joe Heck. Oceguera’s campaign has not reserved any of these prime-time online ads, known as “pre-roll,” because it didn’t know about the shortage, Chisholm said.
“It’s a fairly narrow audience, and we’re all trying to run through the same door at the same time,” said Chisholm, who was unaware that Google allowed reserved buys.
Las Vegas is a key market in Nevada, where a close U.S. Senate race and two competitive House races are competing for Internet ad time with the presidential campaigns. Super PACs, along with the campaigns of President Barack Obama and GOP hopeful Mitt Romney, long ago snapped up most of the available fall online pre-roll.
Space is limited because YouTube and other Web video providers, including Yahoo and AOL, enable advertisers to place spots to target potential voters either by category — news or politics, for example — or by ZIP code, meaning that the most desirable categories or geographic locations go quickly.
(Read more on Politico)