How to Leverage Interest Around the Presidential Debates for Your Organization: Insights and Takeaways from Google

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by Google focusing on taking advantage of the increased conversation and interest surrounding the Presidential debates. The debates provide a terrific opportunity for advocacy campaigns to gain attention while lawmakers, influencers, and potential advocates are paying attention to and talking about the issues that matter most.

Here are a few key takeaways from the event:

Before the Debate

Target search ads around debate-related questions

Interest in debate related topics on Google search begins to rise about one week out from the event. Interest at this time focuses on logistical questions like “when is the presidential debate,” “how to watch debate,” “what time is the debate.” By creating a search campaign targeting keywords like this, combined with any relevant geographic targeting, you can begin to get your issue at the top of mind for engaged parties before a candidate ever steps foot on stage.

Place banner ads on insights and commentary from pundits

In addition to searching for details about the debate, users, particularly influencers, are reading hot takes on “what to look for at the debate” from pundits in the days leading up to the event itself. Running banner ads targeted to appear alongside articles like this can help you reach thought leaders and associate your organization and related issues with the debates.

During the Debate

Create search ads around relevant issue keywords and optimize for mobile

Eighty-seven percent of people use their phone while watching TV. During the debates this means information is at people’s immediate disposal, and they’re turning to Google to confirm and research what they’re hearing from the candidates, live in the moment. To take advantage of this, organizations should run search ads targeted at relevant issue-related keywords and optimize bids for mobile during the debate.

Remain flexible and prepare to move quickly

By remaining agile, your organization can take advantage of any unexpected, but highly relevant things the candidates might say throughout the course of the debate. Additionally, sanfus like “binders full of women,” that we’ve seen in the past may provide entertaining inflection points to target or create advertising around. Having a team on hand empowered to move on the fly can give you an advantage.

After the Debate

Use video to extend the life of the conversation

There is a 500% increase in debate-related searches on YouTube the day after a debate. People are turning to the video juggernaut to watch what they missed, rewatch key moments, see what others are saying, and share the videos with friends. Using video ads targeted to people searching for these videos, and as pre-roll before these videos, enables organizations to extend the life of the conversation and interest around their issues beyond the debate itself.