The SmartVideo Blog

Who Did You Vote For? Online Video is the Winner in 2012 Election

Posted by Rachel Eisenhauer on Tue, Nov 06, 2012

Online Video in the 2012 ElectionWelcome to Election Day. Here is a roundup of how online videos and video ad campaigns played a crucial and record-breaking role during the 2012 presidential elections.

Online Political Videos are Highly Social, by Pew Internet & American

A report released last week by Pew Internet & American Life Project found that more than half (55%) of registered voters have watched political videos online during the presidential campaign season. But these videos weren’t necessarily from the campaigns. The study found that 62% of Internet-using registered voters watched political videos because others recommended them via social media; 23% did the recommending.

2012 Presidential Election Online Video Sharing

“As with watching online political videos, there are few partisan differences when it comes to having others recommend online political video content. The one exception pertains to social networking sites,” reads the report. “Liberal Internet users who are registered voters are significantly more likely than Moderates or Conservatives to have had others recommend online political videos for them to watch on social networking sites.”

Below is a breakdown of the types of political videos viewed online, according to the report. Read the full report here.

    • 48% - News reports
    • 40% - Previously recorded videos of speeches, press conferences or debates
    • 39% - Informational videos explaining a political issue
    • 37% - Humorous parodies a la SNL
    • 36% - Political advertisement campaigns
    • 28% - Live videos of speeches, press conferences or debates

Who Spent More on Video Ads this Election, by ReTargeter

As the London 2012 Games were dubbed the ‘digital Olympics’ this summer, this presidential race is also being referred to as the first full ‘digital election’. Funding for online ads hit an all-time high, surpassing $78 million combined, a 251% increase from the 2008 race. So, who spent more?

Governor Romney’s online video ad spend came in at $26 million, just about half of President Obama’s online video ads spend at $52 million. See the full infographic here.

Obama Romney Video Ads Spend 

Microtargeting – How Campaigns Know You Better than You Know Yourself, by CNN

Presidential campaigns this year have been using microtargeting to reach voters based on their personal interests, tastes and Web browsing behaviors. Political strategy firms like Democratic DSPolitical and Republican CampaignGrid are gathering and buying up this voter data, then matching it to publicly available voter rolls.

Google is in on the action, too. The data powerhouse allows marketers, political or otherwise, to target its users based on specific demographic information. The company launched its Google Political Toolkit and campaign tools via YouTube, offering candidates the chance to "promote videos using Google AdWords for video to reach exactly the audience you want -- by age, gender, location or other criteria." Pre-roll video ads show up before a YouTube video or banner ads on the websites users visit.

Microtargeting can also guarantee that voters actually see video campaign ads. A sign of how often these ads are used by political campaigns -- "online video inventory has been sold out," CampaignGrid’s President said, in many of the key battleground states looking into the final days of the campaign. Read the full article here.

What do you think about this year's online presidential videos and video ad campaigns? Did the candidates spend too much, or was it worth it because many videos were socially shared? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. And be sure to vote today!

Tags: Presidential Election 2012, political videos, campaign videos, microtargeting, YouTube, online video, targeted advertising, video advertising, pre-roll ads, video ads, online video advertising, Google

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