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:

president

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?