The race for the White House is seriously heating up and, as the front runners emerge, we look at the use of online & mobile video by the top candidates, what’s changed since 2008 and how digital media and video, in particular, are having a huge impact on their campaigns.
If the 2008 presidential election was the year of social media, successfully utilised by the eventual winner Barack Obama, then 2016 is the year of Video.
In 2016, candidates’ ad spend has already gone from $22.5 million to $1 billion. This increase, in spend alone, is proof that digital video ads are now a necessity not only to presidential candidates but to any business trying to gain success. In January 2016 three political video ads ranked among YouTube’s 10 most-watched ads for the first time in history, delivering millions more views to campaigns than to the best commercials corporate America had to offer.
Underdog Bernie Sanders was top of the leader board with his, now highest viewed video simply titled America. This video, which has over 3 million views, tugged at America’s heart-strings, favouring to show the American people rather than reverting to vicious name-calling tactics many candidates have defaulted to in a number of videos.
Taking a look at The YouTube channels of the 5 remaining candidates vying for the coveted nominations, it could be thought that we have our clear winners and losers.
Bernie Sanders: 115,700 subscribers
Hillary Clinton: 42,688 subscribers
Ted Cruz: 38,460 subscribers
Donald Trump 31,356 subscribers
John Kasich 2,500 subscribers
Unfortunately for Sanders, and fortunately for Kasich, election campaigns aren’t won on video alone, but they go a long way with engagement and getting to know a candidate. The need for engaging video is proven in the fact that at the start of 2015 Bernie Sanders was virtually unknown yet now, in 2016, he has won multiple states’ support for the democratic nomination.
February saw the engagement of the American people with another politically themed video ad, this time in the form of a Bud Light Super bowl ad, in which Seth Rogan and Amy Schumer announce the formation of the ‘Bud Light party’. With over 15 million views, it seems that satire is taking over the presidential election. And we know one candidate in particular is providing plenty of comic relief.
Since the start of the presidential campaign, multiple videos with varied opinions being expressed have been uploaded to YouTube. While some of these can be considered beneficial to a candidate, they can also be highly detrimental to their campaign. Simple searches can produce a multitude of heinous claims about each of the candidates, which could be the sway for an undecided voter.
While they have little control over the publishing of such videos the best they can do is combat the bad press with their own video uploads. Video has proven to be a quick come back to the negative press that candidates receive, or they may even use it to further dismember another candidate’s policies. As proved by Obama, not only in his 2008 campaign but throughout his presidency, video can be a way to cut out the middle man, and get his point to the public directly, without another’s opinion tarnishing the message.
This is a great message for businesses. Gone are the days where you had to rely on public relations events in the hopes of getting a small article somewhere within a newspaper that few actually read. It is now much easier for a business to take control of the message they want their clients and customers to receive. Video is a way in which to engage the public directly. Those of us who passively browse web pages are automatically drawn to video because of the moving colours and motion. It’s a simple reaction that most people don’t even notice, and before they know it many people have watched a two-minute video on the growth of cabbages in Guadalajara. So surely if it’s that simple to attract a person’s attention, you’d be somewhat foolish not to use exploit video in your digital strategy going forward.
Video spend has increased significantly in the last few years. It’s no longer a case of ‘jumping on the bandwagon’, the bandwagon is moving faster and faster in one direction and if you’re not on it, you’ll soon be watching your competitors riding off into the sunset. Chris Wilson, analyst for Ted Cruz’s own campaign has stated on multiple occasions about it is to utilise video in the presidential race. He even went as far as to say “If you’re not doing it, you’re going to lose” (video).
Video is a great way to promote your brand and engage with your audience. Your audience most likely won’t go out of their way to read an article in order to get to know your brand but they are more likely to watch a video that crosses their path.
You must create interesting content. People will seek out content that they find entertaining. A great example of this is the Bud Light ad. It’s every business’ dream to have a person seek out their ad and to have them do it in large numbers is like hitting the jackpot.
In truth, video is a great way to take clear control of the message you wish to give your existing and potential customers. Video can boost how you tell the world about new products, an upcoming launch, updates, new features, a new line of dresses. No matter what your business is, video will grow to become an increasingly important part of how you reach your target customers and take your rightful market share. So why wait? Press fast forward and start playing around with video ads for your business today.