Stuck in line at the polls? Relieve your boredom on Facebook. Unsure who’s running for anything other than president? Hello, Mr. Google.
American voters will pull out their phones millions of times on Election Day, giving candidates hungry for air a last chance to be in front of their eyeballs. How much time has your local TV news dedicated to state rep races? Judges? School board? Not much, I’ll bet, since too many fires and lurid crimes have occurred to leave time to discuss the qualifications of the people who’ll determine how your children learn or whether your cousin can get health care.
Most down-ballot candidates struggle for notice at the best of times, and in 2016, it’s amazing that anyone’s heard a political name other than Clinton or Trump (or Weiner) that they can remember. On November 8th, polling places will fill with people who know little about local or state races, giving an advantage to candidates who can elicit even a flicker of recognition.
Enter targeted mobile ads: whether voters are actually looking something political or not, tens of millions of them will spend time on their phones before they vote. Geotargeted Facebook posts appear on laptops and phones, acting as handy digital billboards or yard signs. Search ads can catch voters looking for polling places or researching ballot initiatives — lower volume than a Facebook newsfeed, but reaching people at a moment when they’re potentially open to persuasion. Getting more sophisticated, cookie-targeted ads can put you in front of the right demographic or the segment, such as those rare people who never miss a chance to cast a ballot.
So this November 8th, go forth and advertise! Even halfway through the day it might make a difference. After all, your mom can only vote so many times before someone catches on.