Smartphone Political Ads Target Non-Political Events To Talk Directly To Voters, One By One


Publish Date:
July 7, 2017
  • Murakami, Kery
Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.
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The Point Pleasant Sternwheel Regatta Parade in West Virginia is not an event you’d expect to find political ads bombing the smartphones of spectators celebrating holiday music and food on the banks of the Ohio River.

Welcome to the digital age, where no event is too local for national political parties bent on getting their message across to assembled crowds, one by one.

Ultimately, digital ads aren’t as important in deciding elections as the candidate’s strengths or weaknesses, said Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford University law professor and former senior Research Director for the Presidential Commission on Election Administration.

“Barack Obama was an incredible candidate besides the digital tools,” he said at a New York University Law School panel discussion in December on the use of technology in campaigns.  “Hillary Clinton had certain flaws, and Donald Trump had some strengths.”

Still, he noted, last year’s presidential campaigns spent three or four times as much online for ads as previous presidential campaigns. And even more is expected to be spent in future elections.

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