Seek and ye shall find, right? Well, in the case of Google and K Street, we can bring the axiom into the 21st century: Search and ye shall find members of Congress.
That's essentially what the search giant and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy did when they worked together on a recent lobbying effort that married Google technology with ACCCE's social media network.
Google brought what it calls its click-to-call technology to the table. ACCCE brought its 241,000 Facebook likes and what resulted, according to ACCCE's senior VP for communications Evan Tracey, was a grass-roots lobbying campaign that generated 3,000 phone calls to senators.
That kind of response to a campaign, Tracey said, produced a quarter of ACCCE's total advocacy on the effort, but for a fraction of the cost of traditional advocacy tools like TV ads and letter-writing campaigns.
"I think it's a phenomenal tool. It's an advanced look into where things are going," Tracey said.
Here's how it works: Say you're interested in a Senate measure on Environmental Protection Agency regulations affecting the coal industry, which, by the way, was just the kind of person ACCCE was targeting with these ads. On your mobile device, you Google specific keywords, like the bill's name, for instance, and along with the search results, Google serves up an ad with a link for you to click, directing you to a call center. From there, you're patched through to your senator.
"ACCCE's campaign to do this is groundbreaking because they're the first to use click-to-call advertising to connect Americans with their senators," said Rob Saliterman, Google's head of political ads.
ACCCE went a step further than to rely solely on search to lead interested people to its advocacy campaign, blasting the ads out via its social media pages.
The union between search, social media and advocacy is just the next progression in technology in the lobbying business, said Tracey, who added that he remembers when faxes were the "it" platform.
"This is just the tip of the iceberg for being able to convert traditional grassroots advocacy into offline action," Tracey said.
Photo: Screengrab from ACCCE's Facebook page.