Google has built an AdWords tool enabling politicians to target messages to voters based on Congressional Districts. The tool brings online targeting to neighborhoods -- or rather districts -- using search, display, mobile and video ads specifically within that particular district's border. The National Republican Congressional Committee has already begun using it in five districts.
Until today, AdWords supported targeting per ZIP code or city. People always point to digital as a more efficient way to reach voters, but this new level of targeting makes it more precise. The areas have been divided into new districts, courtesy of the remap that occurs every 10 years.
One district located in western Maryland, for example, has long held Republicans, but was drastically reshaped by redistricting, making it more competitive. Gerrit Lansing, digital director at NRCC, began using the tool on Thursday to run five pre-roll videos on YouTube.
The ads that lay over the campaign message generated 131,000 impressions, 15,000 views, and 2,000 click-throughs to the landing page.
The ads highlight several candidates who voted against tax cut extensions. The ads aim to convince voters in specific districts that Democrats don't understand how the economy works or how to fix it.
National and state campaigns typically do not encounter this problem, but house candidates do. "If the ZIP code resides over two districts evenly, you can waste 50% of the ads on voters you don't want to reach," Lansing said.
Lansing will determine return on investment (ROI) by the moving poll numbers in messaging and verbatim in polls. While it's a bit tricky, he also will analyze impressions per district in relation to the amount of voters and leads gained from voter email signups.
While not in the plan, after the elections fill the congressional seats, brands could use the district's political affiliation to build audience segments and target ads.