Ben Carson, small business owners, and digital marketers can all learn how to better utilize display advertising and remarketing.

According to the new FEC finance filing for Ben Carson’s presidential campaign, the new wave of advertising has finally hit politics.

In Q3, his campaign spent their advertising dollars on these mediums:

  • $5 million on Social Media Web Ads
  • $2.72 million on Direct Mail Ads
  • $1.4 million on Telemarketing
  • $486,000 on TV/Radio

As a digital marketer who works with these mediums everyday, these spends does not surprise me. ROI is always positive 100% of the time on new media mediums like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Search, and Display, while the other mediums either leave you guessing/hoping or spending too much for what you’re getting in return. (I’m, however, a proponent of integrated approaches – every medium can be used effectively if managed correctly).

What worries me about Bens Carson’s above spending is how effective his dollars are being utilized. 5 million on social and web ads in one quarter is a lot across this nation. I’ve also read on Twitter that many people see his ads in Denmark, Norway, and other Scandinavian countries. People also gave Carson grief for running ads on The Economist, a left leaning news source. These mediums and locations do not hold the voter profile a Republican candidate would want to target. So with the brief chance Ben Carson reads this blog, I will help his campaign out without even diving into the campaign itself. Anyone else working on display campaigns/remarketing can probably benefit from this article, too.


Two Steps to Increase ROI on Display Advertising/Remarketing


  1. Pay More for Placement

The best bargain for ad placement doesn’t always yield the most results. Given the polarizing nature of politics, why run ads on “The Economist” for a primary campaign? The chance of converting a moderate democrat over for a primary off of a display ad is a losing ROI every time. The thought process of the $5 million was probably of the understanding to buy as much space as possible on all news mediums. In order to get a higher ROI, you have to pay more for quality placements that can directly benefit your cause. Paying for ads on Wall Street Journal, Yahoo News, CBS News, and ABC News might mean less impressions, but will provide a guarantee on interaction and conversion of the candidate’s ads.


  1. Create Better Remarketing Funnels

Grouping everyone into one category who goes to your site and throwing ads back at them is dangerous. These can be a huge waste through social mediums. Creating funnels of visitors that interact with your site in different ways and targeting specific ads at those visitors is another easy way to increase ROI. By doing this you speak to the visitor more and hit on their interest. If a visitor hits “Values” page then goes to a “Gun Rights” page, that visitor needs to be hit with a beautifully compelling ad on Facebook later that week about a candidate who is going to protect the NRA and gun rights. That drives relevant messages home and doesn’t frustrate visitors. By grouping visitors into funnels and crafting messages to those users, you’ll definitely see interaction on the social end go up with that ad and see an increase in conversion metrics on your website.


It’s easy to buy a ton of display and remarketing ads and just throw them across the internet, but users of the internet react very poorly to that approach. Taking your time and placing value on those ads during the planning and placement phase, and then crafting messages to re-target to your users will help Ben Carson and you find more value in digital advertising.