Every election year, political ads abound. For voters who live in ‘swing’ areas where many voters are undecided, the political ads just don’t stop coming. Google is taking it a step further for this political year by creating a new feature for AdWords that enables users to target individual Congressional districts rather than only allowing users to target specific zip codes. This has the potential to change the playing field so long as political teams and politicians create compelling content to share with voters.
As you may know, Congressional voting districts do not always coincide with zip codes or with town or city lines. That means that in the past, if advertisers wished to reach all of the citizens in a particular voting district, they may have to advertise to those living within several zip codes rather than targeting the district itself. With this new tool, political leaders and campaign managers can precisely target the segments of voters that they wish to send their messages to. This should truly enable politicians to get their voice heard exactly where they want to connect and engage with voters.
Google is not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, but has likely taken these steps in order to reap a larger share of the gargantuan advertising budgets that politicians utilize. Google has a site called Four Screens to Victory that is an elections ad and political ad toolkit site. Within the site, Google reveals that voters use many different sources to obtain information regarding candidates who are running for office and that voters get their information from several different sources. Specifically, they encourage politicians and their campaign teams to reach out to voters on four screens: computers, televisions, mobile phones and tablets.
Redistricting of Congressional districts happens once per decade and happened again quite recently, making it even harder for political teams to target specific Congressional districts. Political campaigns spend billions and billions of dollars on campaign advertising in the months leading up to each election, so it make sense that Google is releasing new and novel tools to make their political ad system the best option for any political campaign. Google representatives recently stated that the number of political teams that are already using AdWords and Google’s political tools is already in the thousands. With this newest development, it is likely that the number will continue to rise.
These new options for targeting are available for search ads, mobile ads, display ads and video ads. The new AdWords Congressional District targeting tool is already live, so Congressional candidates are likely already creating and distributing advertisements to the districts they feel are vitally important to their success. If you live in a ‘swing’ state, expect to see even more political advertisements coming your way on all four screens over the upcoming months.