Political Online Advertising Strategies Near Election Day

October 18, 2010
Marketing, Politics

As election day nears, I can't overstate the importance for campaigns to have a presence with Google Ads.  One of the really nice parts of Google Ads is that they're relatively inexpensive and can get a campaign good coverage for a tiny percentage of their media budget. 

When making your online ad buys in the month leading up to the election, there are some valuable strategies that will help you engage voters.

First, it's important to get in front of voters at relevant times and search ads offer an amazing opportunity by targeting longtail searches.  While its customary to place ads around your opponent's name, those ads are typically just getting displayed in front of voters who have already made a decision.  A much more valuable target are undecided voters researching different issues. 

For example, a campaign could pick up terms like "North Carolina unemployment rate" for relatively cheap and link to their campaign's Jobs page.  With this strategy, the campaign has got in front of an engaged and relevant audience who is already passionate about the issue.  Getting voters information they care about when they care the most is priceless, and Google AdWords makes it pretty cheap to do.

Another important strategy is placing ads around endorsement searches.  Many voters rely on the endorsements of their local papers or organizations to help them make a decision.  Even if your campaign didn't win the endorsement of a source, you can still place ads around searches for that endorsement and push voters to your website's endorsements page so they have the opportunity to see the endorsements you have received and maybe never even make it to the official endorsement from the other source.

Finally, as election day nears, everyone knows that campaigns get dirtier, broadcasting last minute negative ads and having other groups send out negative pieces.  It's important to keep an eye out for the claims your opponent is making in negative ads and get out ahead of the stories through Google ads.  Savvy voters will use the web to try and fact check ads on their own, by buying terms relevant to those negative ads, you can combat their message and refer voters to a page on your website that specifically addresses the ads' claims.  With these ads, you can quickly disseminate time sensitive information and often set the record straight.

These strategies go beyond just a typical buy around an opponent's name and will be much more effective and less expensive than that tactic.  By getting in front of your target when they're looking to be engaged with relevant topic, your campaign can shape the conversation and circumvent your opponent.

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