While the 2010 midterm election season has been mostly a dud when it comes to online advertising, Google has been seeing a flurry of last-minute activity from candidates trying to motivate voters to come out to the polls on Election Day.
According to sources, several dozen candidates have executed what Google calls "blasts" across its content network; in other words, display campaigns that run on thousands of sites at once, yet are hyper-locally targeted. Though a handful of candidates in the recent past have utilized the blast tactic, including Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the level of activity on the Google Display Network has ballooned tenfold vs. 2008. Among the candidates ramping up their activity at the last minute are Michigan Representative John Dingell.
Several candidates are also attempting to reach potential voters via the mobile Web, a tactic used sparingly if at all in recent elections. For example, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has been running mobile ads encouraging voters to click and call into his campaign.
In this year of heavy spending by organizations outside of official campaigns, some political action committees are getting wise to the Web. The right-leaning Business Industrial Political Action Committee (BIPAC), which dates back to the 1950s, is running a national, highly prominent ad on the home page of YouTube. Per sources, BIPAC has spent half of its total media budget online.