Geo-Located Google Ads in New York’s special election

Within the last two days, I’ve noticed a salvo of Scott Murphy ads appearing on just about every web page I visit. If you’re not from the Capitol region, Scott Murphy is the democratic candidate for New York’s 20th congressional seat. He’s running against Jim Tedisco for the seat vacated by Kirsten Gillibrand when she was selected to become Hillary Clinton’s successor in the senate. The special election takes place today (March 31st).

Scott Murphy ad

Murphy appears to have spent a small fortune on these google ads. I literally see them everywhere. I usually don’t pay attention to ads, and there’s usually enough variation in the ads I look at. But Google seems to be targeting this ads to Capitol region IPs rather extensively; as literally one out of every two Google ads I see is from Scott Murphy. Jalopnik, ScoreHero, Ten-Tenths, VirtualR, YouTube… It’s really astounding. I wasn’t even aware the Google Ads API allowed for targeting by region like this.

This form of localized online advertising will probably become the norm in elections to come. It’s kind of interesting that its all starting with this special election near my college home. Rather ironically, however, I’d like to point out that RPI doesn’t actually sit in New York’s 20th, meaning Google’s geo-location algorithm is either a little off, or intentionally broad (so that it encompasses work places whose employees may live in the 20th but work in the 21st).

One Response to “Geo-Located Google Ads in New York’s special election”

  1. Peter Says:

    I’ve just noticed one of these ads… on the side of, literally 2 minutes after reading your blog entry. Interesting ad placement…

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