Political TV ad Spending will top $4.4 Billion this Election but Look Who’s Winning the Digital Race

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have the most people coming to their website, but Hillary Clinton uses more marketing sophistication.    Senator Clinton leverages marketing data, Analytics, Google Adwords and Optimizely Landing Page Optimization software to try and improve campaign results.  The ultimate goal in digital marketing is to match users intent so each visitor has a good experience.  Are website visitors looking to donate to the campaign, sign up to the email newsletter or just browse the website for information.

In this analysis, I’m evaluating how much is being spent on the 2016 election and what Presidential candidates are doing online, specifically each of these 5 websites Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

2016 presidential impression share

As an long time Internet Marketing thought leader, speaker and author, I never thought I would write about politics, but when I saw billions being spent on the 2016 Elections I decided to look into their marketing strategy.  Only Hillary, Bernie and Marco Rubio have bought Google ads but Hillary has significantly more impression share.

Political TV ad spending will top $4.4 billion for federal races this year, up from $3.8 billion in 2012, according to Elizabeth Wilner, senior vice president at Kantar’s Campaign Media and Analysis Group.

Are we sure there isn’t a better place to spend this money?

Jeb Bush already spent $125M, which is more than any candidate so far and he DROPPED OUT. This year over $200 million has been spent on candidates who are no longer in the race! Do you think we could have done something more productive with that Money?  Out of the almost $1Billion raised so far for the 2016 Election, over $550 Million has been donated to republicans and over $240M to Democrats.  Republicans use significantly more money then Democrats but I’m not saying it is their fault, just stating the facts from this data released by The Washington Post.

2016 President spend dem vs repLets look at how much each candidate has raised and how much they have spent according to Public Integrity.

2016 spend by each presidential candidate

Democrate 2016 money raised and spent

Republican 2016 money raised and spent

Republican 2016 money raised and spent

How about we go one step further and dig into what each candidate is saying on their website and the online marketing strategy they are using with a multi-million dollar budget.  When we compare the website home page message for each Candidate, many are asking me for a donation before I can even read what they stands for! The data from this screen shot below is using a competitive intelligence spying tool called Campaign Watch to see what each candidate is showing visitors on their home page and all the versions they have tested.

2016 President Election Websites


2016 president landing pages

When you look at Hillary Clinton versus Bernie Sanders website statistics, he is getting 5 times more traffic to his website according to Similar Web.  What is more impressive then the 10 million visitors who went to Bernie’s site last month, but look at the engagement on his website. Bernie Sanders website visitors spend over 30% more time on his site than HillaryClinton.com who’s visitors average under two minutes before they leave.

2016 Hillary vs. Bernie website traffic

2016 Hillary vs Bernie traffic sources

After analyzing the data, it is clear that direct traffic, social media and search referrals are the main sources of visitors to these candidates websites.

There is a more significant gap between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz website traffic and sources.  Cruz is winning the search and email referral percentage of traffic.

trump vs cruz referral traffic sources

Donald Trump is spiking in traffic but how can you avoid it?  He literally is on every channel and paper daily.

Trump vs Cruz website traffic

What is your opinion of the website messaging these candidates are using? How is your experience if you give your email?  You should see the emails they send you in my next analysis.  Stay tuned for more post on what each candidate sends to its email subscribers.

Do we really need to waste billions on an election?  Could there be a better use of this money? Please share your comments below.

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