August 26th, 2010
07:26 PM ET
4 years ago

Google ads target online voters standing in line

(CNN) – Voters standing in line at polling places and searching for candidate information on mobile devices are increasingly becoming the target of Google advertisers hoping to pick up every last vote.

Candidates have for years placed ads on Google platforms to attract the attention of searchers. But Tuesday's elections saw a large number of down ballot candidates buying Google mobile ads with the goal of capturing the attention of people waiting on line at the polling stations.

While Google Mobile Ads have existed since 2007, this year candidates could target specific carriers and devices. Since mobile devices have become more sophisticated, users are searching more and more on mobile browsers.

Google spokesperson Rebecca Ginsberg told CNN that this is the first election cycle in which candidates are adopting mobile ads in large numbers, but could not comment on specific numbers except to say that over the past two years Google's mobile search volumes have grown by 500 percent.

"We're seeing hundreds of campaigns and issue groups use mobile ads," Ginsberg said in an email. "These candidates have recognized the reality of how people vote, and are taking advantage of the technology to be sure their ads come up and their messaging gets out there at the crucial moment."

Dan Gelber, who was running for the Democratic nomination for Florida Attorney General and Florida Circuit Court Judge candidate Lisa Small were among the candidates who ran Google Mobile Ads.

"If people are searching for a candidate's name on Election Day, it's a pretty safe assumption they asking the internet who to vote for," said Josh Koster, managing partner of the political consulting firm Chong + Koster who advised the Gelber campaign on the Google ad buy.

Koster told CNN the campaign's goal was to target people right before they voted and specifically in areas where people would have to wait in long lines at the polling places. Bored in line, Koster bet constituents would be on their smart phones searching for information, and wanted to ensure his candidate's ads appeared.

The Gelber campaign also purchased traditional Google Search ads and ran an aggressive Facebook campaign, but shifted their advertising strategy to hit mobile devices during the last 24 hours to target those making a decision as they walked in to vote.


Filed under: 2010
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. DOG1

    Aren't there laws regarding campaigning within a certain distance of a polling place?????

    August 26, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  2. guy from NM

    The only improvement will be when politicos start telling the truth, and really inform us. Whatever the new medium will be, political ads are just that, ads, no content or truth

    August 26, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    Do your homework, folks. Don't wait for the last minute emotional fear and paranoia the republicans are shoving down our throats every minute of every day.

    August 26, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. they call me "tater salad"

    You mean people like John "The Chameleon" McCain are using "the google" now?........Holy crap!!!

    August 26, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  5. Bob in Pa

    If someone is still undecided when they are at the polling place, they really don't have a clue and shouldn't be there to begin with

    August 26, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  6. Anne P CA

    I wouldn't be surprised is 80% of those ads belong to Whitman. That woman has endless bucks and we are all hoping to heck she loses big time! She has zero experience; same for Fiorina. Money should not buy an office; sadly we have impressionable voters who fall for the lies they see in ads.

    August 26, 2010 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  7. monzell Lewis

    We need to keep supporting our prez. we won so we are getting our needs met. thats how it works so dont be mad grow up

    August 27, 2010 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  8. barry

    This may have been Alvin Greene's secret weapon. It could have also been because his name was on the ballot first. Wait I bet Republicans paid his candidate fee, conspired to get his name on the ballot first, and then set him up with a google search Ad. You think it was Jim Demint?

    August 27, 2010 06:36 am at 6:36 am |