The Conservatives made use of Google’s Adwords platform this week to make sure that anyone searching for ‘Budget’, ‘Pre-Budget Report’ or ‘Treasury’ were directed to their website. This domination of the top positions provided anyone interested in the content with George Osborne’s view on the state of the economy.
As you can see below, there’s a huge spike in the number of searches around ‘pre-budget report’ and the Conservative Party want to make sure that those searching it can access the Conservative Party’s response to it quickly and easily. The people searching such terms will be high powered individuals such as bankers and leaders of industry as well as opinion forming elites like journalists and academics – all of whom are worth having on-side.
Spending a relatively small amount of money on adwords to ensure a tiny but highly influential group of people are aware of your stance on the key issue of the next (and arguably any) election seems like a very smart thing to do.
The Sun and The Labour Party are battling it out over the tabloids’s recent switch in allegiance from Labour to Tory using Google Adwords. Good on the Labour Party for taking on Britain’s biggest selling newspaper; that’s the exact sort of fighting spirit that will lift activists on the ground.
I imagine this is just a taste of what we can expect come general election time, where all major parties and interest groups will be running pay-per-click advertising on keywords for the issue of the day. Terms like ‘NHS’, ‘cuts’ and ‘election’ will almost certainly be the focus of bidding wars in order to sway swing voters.
Google have recruited a host of high powered CEO’s to encourage their employees to take an hour out of their working day to go and vote. The idea behind the spot is that the #1 reason people gave in the last US election for not voting was a lack of time.
It’s (unsurprisingly…) well put together and it’s brilliant that these huge corporate organisations are being proactive in encouraging democracy. However, if there is a massive turnout for this election it won’t be down to this, or various other, ‘get the vote out’ campaigns. What leads to high turnout is a civically engaged population, educated in the issues facing them, inspired by a political message and given a clear choice at election time. The vehicles for ensuring such circumstances are active and funded political parties. Still, things like this can’t hurt.