This Story Really Started in 2008.
The 2008 election truly was a game changer in terms of how elections conduct their online efforts and among the many historic aspects of President Obama's win, as we look back clearly the amazing efforts to build a digital community and to harness to full power of the social web were huge factors that allowed Obama to obtain separation from his opponent.
And now on to 2012
And so the race is on, with each party furiously attempting to not only use digital media to define their candidate, but also to use the immense power and reach of digital media to try to define their opponent. The results have been fascinating:
In 2012 the Republicans have been very intent on not allowing at least this portion of history to repeat itself. And to some extent the Republicans have succeeded, at least in terms of matching the digital competency of the 2008 Obama campaign.
In other areas Romney and his team are way behind if only because the year is now 2012, and not 2008. The Obama campaign has made some serious advancements in how they approach the digital landscape as you will see when you read the Democrats review.
Social Media and the Presidential Campaign
A critical aspect that both campaigns are running towards is the use and utilization of social media. With Obama being an incumbent he has a huge advantage here. And this advantage is something that his campaign is allowed to benefit from on a continual basis as a result of having began this strategy way back in 2008 - the Obama social graph is HUGE!
And we can see the power of Obama's social influence in a variety of outlets such as on:
Facebook - over 27 million fans
YouTube - over 213 million video plays!
Romney on the other hand is beginning to gain traction but he will have a long way to go in order to achieve similar social media values:
Facebook - over 4 million fans
YouTube - over 17 million video plays
Some of this plays directly into the respective bases of each candidate, but some of this also speaks to the large advantage Obama and the Democrats have been actively courting for years now.
Beyond Social Media
In addition to reviewing how each candidate utilizes social media, we went beyond and looked at many other digital aspects that each candidate is utilizing to help define their narrative. Web pages were very interesting. As was the tremendous effort each candidate placed on list building.
Shelf life of a story has clearly taken on a new value as well - while the traditional news cycle has contracted (24 hours a day) the digital news cycle is only now beginning to really be analyzed. Digital audiences and publishers have become more sophisticated which in turn has meant that each party has an entirely new set of criteria from which to try to frame each issue.
The 30 second sound bite is still very real, but now it goes beyond traditional and has the capacity to quickly go “viral.” We are also clearly in the age of the 140 character headline - both candidates are hyper aware of this as well.
Another interesting aspect that we reviewed was the influence of negative messaging which was not limited to only campaign ads. Both candidates seemed to feature not only aspirational ideas but they were also very actively trying to capture information from potential supporters by featuring negative aspects of their opponents.
Speed to Market
Possibly the most defining aspect of our modern era is the speed to market. It was truly remarkable to see how each campaign was so quickly able to produce tightly choreographed materials that captured the modern news cycle. If it happened in the morning it was on their website by the afternoon.
Interview David Gadarian for Presidential Marketing
David Gadarian speaks regularly about issues directly related to digital marketing and is available for press interviews as well. Should you want to contact David to help you with your own analysis of how each candidate is utilizing the modern era of communications to help further their own goals he can be reached at http://www.gadarian.com/