Googling at the Polls

Looking for a way to grab the attention of those really late decision makers? Think about targeting Google search to reach voters who are waiting in line at the polls.


Looking for a way to grab the attention of those really late decision makers? Think about targeting Google search to reach voters who are waiting in line at the polls. It's not quite a network blast, but for a down ticket campaign it could be key. During a panel discussion on online political advertising Tuesday at the Politics Online Conference, Josh Koster offered this: "The number of people Googling candidates while they're standing in line at the polls is staggering," said Koster, managing partner at the online strategy firm Chong + Koster. "If you're in a lower profile race, it's probably the cheapest way to reach voters ever devised. You're literally getting them while they're standing there about to go into the voting booth." Koster said he observed the search trend in a handful of races in 2009 and it's particularly relevant for down ballot candidates with low name id. If a voter hasn't even heard your candidate's name, much less know anything about their campaign, a search ad targeted to mobile devices might be the difference between a voter actually weighing in at the bottom of the ballot or not. The panel, which included Andrew Roos of Google, Scott Stevens of Specific Media, Matthew Dybwad of Craft and Bryan Gernet of Resonate Networks, was moderated by ClickZ's Kate Kaye. They also kicked around some strategies for navigating the increasingly cluttered online advertising world. One key, said Craft's Matthew Dybwad, is making sure your campaign is properly positioned online so it can take advantage of that unique ability to catch lightening in a bottle with an online ad campaign. "You have to be ready in terms of strategy and mobilization for that Aha moment," he said. "So when that bombshell or controversial moment does come, the foundation is already laid." It's ensuring that your campaign's online ads already have some relevance. Said Dybwad, "The idea is that once you see the spark, you can just pour gas on the fire." Shane D'Aprile is senior editor at Politics magazine. He can be reached at sdaprile@politicsmagazine.com


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