Google expects political search spend to increase

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Google has seen an “explosion” in search and online political advertising since the Iowa Caucus, according to Peter Greenberger, team manager of elections and issue advocacy at the search giant.

He estimated that somewhere “north of 2%” of all political advertising would be spent online this year, a significant increase from years past. “It's still small, but it's increasing,” he said.

Greenberger joined the company eight months ago to help launch Google's po­litical and public affairs division. The di­vision primarily works with candidates, issue-advocacy groups and tax-exempt 527 groups. Greenberger, works out of Washington, DC, while others on his team are based in New York.

The division teaches political players and issue-advocacy groups how to reach their customers, primarily through the use of Google AdWords, Greenberger said. Greenberger declined to name the presidential candidates his team has worked with, but indicated that they came from both sides of the aisle. “Each of the major presidential candi­dates have used search advertising in this campaign. Some are using it more, some are using it less,” he said.

With 24 states' primaries on February 5, some candidates utilized geo-targeted search marketing campaigns. AGoogle search on February 6 found that several candidates had sponsored links on their own names. Hillary Clinton and John McCain also ran ads against “election” and “immigration” respectively.

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