Social Media Spending in the Presidential Election

One graphic really says it all:

10-1. Barack Obama didn’t just lap Mitt Romney in online spending, he clobbered him.

$47 million compared to $4.7 million.

But, hey, that’s gotta be an improvement over 2008, right? It sure is!

In 2008 Barack Obama spent $16 million on online advertising.

John McCain: $3.6 million.

So, hey, Mitt Romney increased the GOP nominee’s spending by almost 30%! Yay! Compared to Obama’s jump of nearly 300%.

Now, when PBS Newshour throws around the 2012 numbers they may or may not be just talking about online advertising (I wonder about their numbers because they cite the Obama’s $16 million in 2008 number that is really only representative of his online ads). So who knows how much the failed Project ORCA cost.

But even if we’re just talking about advertising and not actual network building to create a means to spread your narrative and define your candidate instead of letting them spend all Summer calling you a corporate bully, we’re still talking about a very valuable tool in terms of messaging on a platform where more and more voters are seeking information.

A new Pew study shows that the Internet has finally passed Newspapers as a voter’s news source with 47% citing the Internet in 2012 compared to 31% in 2008 and a mere 21% in 2004. This trend is not going to plateau any time soon as more and more people older voters acclimate themselves to social media and younger voters come of age and seek engagement.

26% of voters had their political opinions influenced by social media. 1-in-4 voters were educated and influenced by a tweet or status update or infographic or video or whatever they engaged with on their platforms of choice.

You have got to be where your audience is. And as more and more of your audience moves online you have got to be there to meet and greet them.

PBS Newshour’s Daily Download’s segment on Presidential Social Media usage is a good broad brush analysis of this year’s campaigns and well worth 6 minutes of your time.

Watch Obama Spent 10 Times as Much on Social Media as Romney on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.


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