The Zero Moment of Truth for Voting Study

April 2011

What is the effect of online media in the candidate selection decisions of voters in political campaigns? This study found that voters are doing much more research about candidates online, usually about a month before the election. Surprisingly, it also finds that influence of TV ads, direct mail and billboards is very low.

How is the candidate selection process for voting changing in a digitally powered world? How effective are traditional ads at changing actual voting behavior? Google partnered with Shopper Sciences to reveal the Zero Moment of Truth for 500 voters who participated in 2010 Mid-Term Elections and found:

  • Voters are looking to many different traditional media outlets and information direct from the candidate in their decision-making process. The influence of TV ads is very low - voters are exposed to them and take notice but when asked how influential they are, they respond that they are not very impactful and consider it a poor experience.
  • Voters are doing more self-directed research online. This is typically happening about one month before. Voters look to stimulus sources to become informed about party affiliation, candidate reputation and experience.
  • Voters turn to ZMOT type sources to become informed about around key economic and social issues. In general, voters don't find direct mail from political parties or outdoor billboard ads very impactful.
Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)