With the Iowa Caucus in the books, the 2016 Presidential election is officially underway. The candidates for this year’s elections have been taking advantage of new online advertising technology leading up to the first primary election. From Political Programmatic Advertising to Social Media Marketing, online campaigning tactics offer these candidates the chance to reach voters like never before.

The increased attention to online advertising is a result of society’s connection to online resources for information regarding political elections. We rely on online sources for a majority of our campaign news. From election results to candidate research, we use online technology to stay up to date on candidate news.

Google is helping us facilitate this need by rolling out new search features like Candidate Cards, detailed results tracking, and election reminders. In my blog today, I want to outline each of these new features, so you can take advantage of the most accurate and up-to-date information on the 2016 Presidential race.

Candidate Cards

Google’s expansion of its Candidate Cards are a way for votes to have the most accurate information about this year’s candidates. These Candidate Cards will provide candidate and third-party information regarding specific candidate’s position on issues.

Candidate Cards can be found by searching a candidate’s name (“Ted Cruz” or “Hillary Clinton” for example). You can also go even more in depth and search for content on a candidate’s stance on specific issues (“Bernie Sanders economic policies”).

In Google’s blog post, they explain these Candidate Cards as a resource for voters.

“To help you learn where candidates stand on the issues that matter to you, you can now find candidate statements on important topics—such as national security, taxes, and immigration—right in search results. In addition to seeing direct statements from the candidates—if they choose to share them—you’ll also see a variety of candidate quotes aggregated from news articles.”

While the Candidate Card information might be helpful for voters to stay informed about candidates and their stance of political issues, some marketers have issues about these cards. Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan criticized the launch of Candidate Cards as a “disaster for search quality.”

However, Google has made a point to state that these are not “candidate listing ads.” The platform wants to be clear that Candidate Cards offer no advertising angle.

Results Tracking

With the votes from the Iowa Caucus counted and other primary elections schedule to take place shortly, Google has expanded on Candidate Cards to included detailed results tracking as votes are tallied for each primary.

You can find the current standing of the election by searching “primary results” or “resultados de la eleccion primaria.” Not only will you see the primary election schedule, but you’ll also see live results of how many votes each candidate has received.

In a Search Engine Land article, Greg Sterling explains that the Candidate Cards’ extension including results tracking could resonate more with younger voters.

“It will probably be difficult to measure the effect of voting reminders on turnout, but it could have an impact, which would not only be interesting and socially beneficial but also could potentially influence primary outcomes at the margins — especially with younger, more mobile-centric populations.”

Voting Reminders

The intelligent personal assistant Google Now app has also included updates to remind you when it’s time to vote.

“Google Now cards will keep you up-to-date on the latest elections news. In the Google app, you’ll get cards reminding you to vote in your local primary and others highlighting who won each contest. As with the election results, this works in English and Spanish.”

Wrapping Up

It’s no secret that candidates continue to rely heavily on online advertising technology to spread the word about their political campaigns. What’s different about this election are the advanced targeting options and innovative advertising strategies that each candidate is using to connect with voters through online platforms. Because of this, it can be hard for voters to find reliable and unbiased information about candidates.

I believe that Google’s Candidate Cards provide us voters with a clear understanding about the current standing of the Presidential Primary election and information about candidate’s political platform in an easy to understand format. In today’s society, we rely on the Internet for almost all of our daily information and these Candidate Cards make it easier for us to stay informed about the people trying to become our next leader.