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Elections 2008 : Who’s Winning The Online Popularity Game?

The upcoming presidential election has become a media battle, which the Internet has been playing a huge role in. Video distribution via YouTube, Google Video, MySpace and other online channels has been a dominating factor and a key component for presidential candidates.

Case in point, we’ll look at two videos of candidate Hillary Clinton which have sparked great buzz from TV and Radio media outlets and have received the most attention from potential voters.

One video was not produced by the Clinton camp, on the contrary it was connected with the Obama campaign, had a negative take on Senator Clinton. The video, which portrayed Hillary Clinton as the dictator role in the Apple 1984 commercial spoof, was well produced, seen by millions and sparked an early online interest in Barack Obama.

Most recently, Senator Clinton porduced her own video spoof of the Sopranos finale that had everyone talking. I thought it was pretty clever actually, especially with buzz that was around that finale of the Sopranos. If you haven’t seen it, here it is:



Beyond online video distribution, how are the candidates marketing themselves online and what is the end result?

Let’s look at a Nielson Media Research study conducted on the activity of the candidates online.

Online Advertising

  • Republican Senator John McCain leads overall online paid advertising, followed by Republican Romney and Democrat Clinton. McCain had 12 times the exposure of other candidates as a result of online advertising in April, generating nearly 26 million unique impressions. However, McCain only placed fourth in the number of unique visitors to a candidate’s Website in April.
  • Senator Clinton’s campaign, which appears to have spent much less, generated the second most Website traffic, behind Democrat Senator Barack Obama. Obama, with no online advertisements, dominated the page views of all candidates, with the Obama’08 Website generating nearly 4 million page views from almost 650,000 unique visitors in April.

Site Traffic & Impressions

  • Senator McCain generated over 40 million unique impressions utilizing paid Internet advertisements in April and May from both image- and sponsored link based ads; followed by Mitt Romney with 5.8 million unique impressions and Friends of Hillary generating just over 2 million impressions.
  • Senator McCain’s nearly 26 million impressions in April generated the fourth rank in online traffic to the a campaign Website, with Clinton’s 1.4 million impressions contributing to second overall unique visitors to a campaign site; and Romney’s 877,000 unique impressions coming in a distant sixth.
  • Senator Clinton scaled back online advertising significantly in May, with under 1 million impressions compared to Senator McCain with nearly 15 million impressions and Romney with nearly 5 million.”

Overall Traffic Rankings from April 2007

2008
Presidential Campaign Websites for April 2007
Website Unique Visitors
(000)
Page Views
(000)
Active Reach
%
Sessions Per
Visitor
Time Per Visitor
(hh:mm:ss)
Barack
Obama for President Website
647 3,797 0.45 1.41 0:06:21
Hillary
Clinton for President Website
498 1,616 0.34 1.17 0:04:16
John
Edwards for President Website
385 1,744 0.27 1.32 0:04:59
John
McCain Presidential Website
212 766 0.15 1.20 0:04:09
Tom
Tancredo Presidential Website
142 454 0.10 1.10 0:03:58
Mitt
Romney Presidential Website
111 447 0.08 1.12 0:03:08
Ron
Paul Presidential Website
103 602 0.07 1.09 0:05:05
Bill
Richardson for President Website
72 138 0.05 1.06 0:02:37
Dennis
Kucinich for President Website
70 329 0.05 1.56 0:04:57
Rudy
Giuliani Exploratory Website
65 562 0.04 1.17 0:02:43
Mike
Gravel for President Website
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Joe
Biden for President Website
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Duncan
Hunter for President Website
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Chris
Dodd for President Website
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Tommy
Thompson Presidential Website
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
John
Cox for President Website
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Tom
Vilsack for President Website
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Blog Popularity

Looking at the Blog Buzz Trends reporting from IceRocket, we can see who is getting the most buzz from blogs for the Democrats:

tr9c1a88697ed535ac8f2e18291f61d320060600 Elections 2008 : Whos Winning The Online Popularity Game?

For Republicans :

tr312eb1d19a2864cb7e5c0b298bf9a083060600 Elections 2008 : Whos Winning The Online Popularity Game?

Has any candidate got your attention online yet?

Pablo Palatnik is Managing Partner of eTrend Media Group, which specializes in Pay-Per-Click Management & Social Media Optimization.

 Elections 2008 : Whos Winning The Online Popularity Game?
Pablo Palatnik is the author of the blog PalatnikFactor, focusing on all things Online Marketing and Search Engine Optimization specialist for Fortune3, a shopping cart software company by online retailers, for online retailers.

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13 thoughts on “Elections 2008 : Who’s Winning The Online Popularity Game?

  1. Politics is an area where it’s good for online marketers and SEOs to remember that many factors affect success for a client or industry.

    In this case, online marketing buzz is not a trustworthy indicator of election success – not yet. I think in a few years when the baby boomers start retiring (in bulk – there will be 70 million of them) – that’s when we’ll start to see online campaigns having more of an effect.

    In the meantime, online campaigns generally get young people excited b/c that demographic likes to feel part of something. Ironically, voting is an individual activity – so the actual act of voting is not very social. That’s part of the reason you see disconnects between online campaigns and election results.

  2. I both agree and disagree with you. I’m not sure how individual of an acitivity voting really is. It is ultimatley our decision but we come to that decision, atleast many people i know through social and media interaction.

    There has never been so much buzz for a presidential campaign online as there is now so we will really see the impact the online campaigns have with election results.

  3. wow, it’s july, yet you use april stats. Why? Because that was before Ron Paul started winning those stats.

    And then you show recent charts, where of course Ron Paul isn’t even there. Anyone can go to alexa and see for themselves that Ron Paul wins in all these categories, even though he is the only one who isn’t spending millions online to get the traffic.

    I mean wow, can you manipulate things anymore than this? Why do you need to manipulate things to begin with?

  4. Nothing is manipulated. All stats are provided by Nielson Media Research. It also states clearly these are April stats.

  5. There was nothing political about that video either, just selling the Clinton ‘charm’, or at least Bill’s charm.

    I can’t really see Hillary’s campaign theme song having any meaning. Forgive my sentimental feelings, but I still get chills when I see footage of Clinton & Gore waving and cheering to Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.

    The song meant something, gave Americans hope, and was representative of the first baby boomer generation Presidency.

    I’d love to see Barack Obama use that Journey song in his campaign, I mean come on… Don’t Stop Believing. It would be incredible.

    Pablo, nice write up on the campaigners and what they’re doing online, beyond MySpace profiles!

  6. Wow these stats are horribly inaccurate. I don’t know where you get the stats on here but check alexa, it has correct info. Burried on digg for inaccurate info, plus a horrible site.

  7. James, the stats were provided by a study performed by Nielsen Media Research.

    Alexa is one heck of an inaccurate place to get site statistic information from, but for the good of the conversation, instead of bashing the numbers on behalf of the Ron Paul campaign, why don’t you provide the numbers?

  8. I like this comment from a digger:

    “Nielsen Research is not a hoax. Why don’t you link to the Alexa numbers. How can you even compare Alexa with Nielsen? Alexa gets its stats from easily manipulated toolbars which are usually downloaded and then reloaded over and over by users with an agenda. Alexa provides exceptionally biased numbers towards sites associated with Internet Marketing, check this out (from the Director of Research at Google) : http://norvig.com/logs-alexa.html

  9. “Half the truth is often the greatest lie”

    That is what you do in this article. Yeah, sure you showed april stats, before the debates began. Then when it came to june you separate it into groups where you can win.

    Prove me wrong, show the stats for all the candidates from june. Or is it to much to ask for a bit of research?

  10. badmedia, if you’d like you can request the new stats from Nielsen Media Research, who provided the numbers.

    Here are more stats from Nielsen which shows some Ron Paul numbers from May.

    Pablo also linked to this page in the article.

    IceRocket shows Ron Paul buzz on blogs are more than other GOP candidates. This is current data, but not checked as thoroughly as data from other metrics companies.

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