Social Media’s 2016 Presidential Prediction

Let’s go political for a moment. Politics in one of the largest marketing industries that tries its best to look like it is not using marketing, and social media has provided the perfect platform to do just that. While social media may not predict the next president, it certainly plays a major role in candidate exposure and influence. Allow me to share a few charts from research done on the 2012 election:

digital campaign networks

digital campaign response   digital campaign spending

According to the charts above, Obama was leagues ahead of Romney in followers and fans, had nearly double the response rate of Romney on major sites, and spent astronomically more money on his digital campaign. I am not saying that social media is the sole reason for Obama’s victory, but it certainly had an impact. It made Obama “real” and not just a public figure. Social media turned him into a friend, ally, and regular person rather than a symbol of the issues for which he stood, and this resonated with Millennials.

What does this mean for 2016 candidates? It means that if they want the Millennial vote, they must engage (or at least appear to engage) on social media. The chart below from Potus 2016 shows how the candidates were shaping up as of Summer 2015:


Trump or Hillary? Is this what it comes down to? Interestingly, there is not a huge range of Facebook likes among all of the candidates. Hillary falls behind significantly if Facebook alone matters, and Bernie Sanders climbs to the top if YouTube is most important. Ultimately, the most important platform is the one whose followers turn their interest into action. So… who are the action-takers?

4 thoughts on “Social Media’s 2016 Presidential Prediction”

  1. Great Post!

    I absolutely love discussing political marketing tactics. People often don’t realize the way politicians and their team manipulate the way you perceive a person running for office.

    Aside from this, I want to put out an important peice of information based on the graphs you provided. Look at how Bernie Sanders is faring on social media and then compare it to the success of his campaign thus far. There is not always a correlation between how high the social media following represents and political success. Word of mouth is equally as important.

    -Katheirne Gonzales


  2. Very interesting! It seems that social media is emerging as a strong leg of the campaign animal. But until you can vote online it will take more than a ‘Like’ to get millennials to the polls… They have to be motivated by believing in the difference their making. Otherwise the vote is completely up to the ever aging population majority.


  3. I do wonder if ease of voting (i.e. voting online from home) will ever be considered. It would obviously rake in a significantly higher amount of voters, but it still seems to risky. When voting changed from paper punching to computer-recorded responses, the process seemed to be much more legitimate and true. With more and more technological advances, however, the voting process must always be monitored to avoid the threat of a system hack or breach. Hopefully this monitoring doesn’t happen through Big Brother in the future…


  4. Greetings!

    Very interesting post! It is fascinating to see how presidential campaigns play out on social media. Like you said, Obama was the first president that mobilized the power of social media to help promote his campaign and to stay in touch with his constituents throughout his term in office. In the video below, Bloomberg Business highlights how social media is helping to change the way political campaigns are conducted. This November is going to be a nailbiter. 🙂


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