As viewing habits change, political ads follow would-be voters online

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Mitt Romney’s campaign thinks it has found a way to get its ads in front of the increasing number of voters who are not watching traditional television: Find these people online, and show them the ads there, reports Jeremy Peters of the New York Times.

In Wisconsin, where the Republican primary is Tuesday, carefully targeted potential voters will see two Romney commercials on their Web browsers. One is a positive message hailing the candidate’s economic and business credentials. The other is an attack criticizing Rick Santorum as a Washington insider who compromises his core beliefs. Both commercials, which have been running on local television stations across the state, have gone unseen by many voters – up to one-third of them, by some estimates.

The Romney campaign and a team of online behavior analysts have spent 18 months trying to fight television advertising’s law of diminishing returns, sifting through data on the browsing habits of tens of millions of computer users as the campaign builds a richly detailed cache of potential supporters. … The Obama digital team … knows when supporters have opened an e-mail from the campaign and whether they have clicked on tabs in the e-mail that direct people to It uses that data to determine whether to send more or fewer solicitations.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.