Posted by: McQ
on Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Viewership of videos about presidential candidates peaked in March on YouTube as a result of two less than flattering videos, one about Hillary Clinton (the "1984" video) and one about John McCain ("Bomb Iran").
Clinton's accounted for 75% of all traffic related to the candidates with McCain's, a month later, helped him attract twice the number of YouTube visitors than his Republican rivals.
Now what does that tell you so far about YouTube? Well, for one thing, smart and appealing negative video will get you a lot of views. In my mind, the "1984" clip was simply a brilliant adaptation of an existing commercial in which Clinton was portrayed in a manner a lot of people believe her really to be. And although the McCain video wasn't produced, it was, again, a portrayal of McCain in a manner that many believe to be true.
Nothing has changed in that regard. Think back to the Allen "macaca" video. Same point.
This early in the election cycle, it's hard to say that Internet volume at candidate Web sites is an indicator of ultimate success at the polls. If anything, the data show that the increasing attention being placed on the Internet by candidates is a double-edged sword, since they are getting the most attention online for video clips beyond their control.That's not to say that campaign videos on YouTube aren't effective or something which campaigns shouldn't use. But they are, for the most part, predictable, and, if you can find someone who willingly sits through campaign commercials on TV or, better, seeks them out, I'd like to meet them.
Nielsen found a far greater number of unique visitors watched Democratic candidate YouTube videos in March — 1.54 million visitors, compared with Republicans' 108,000 visitors. But that number was high because of the anti-Clinton "1984" video, which was produced by a supporter of her leading rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. By April, traffic had stabilized, Nielsen found, and both sides attracted 300,000-400,000 unique viewers on YouTube.So what is the effect of YouTube? To be determined.
Mrs. Clinton's Web videos drew the most attention, drawing 23.2% of the total time in April spent by YouTube visitors viewing political videos. Mr. Obama followed with 20%. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards was third, at 16.1%
The Republicans followed, led by Mr. McCain, who drew 14.9% of all political viewing time. His two main rivals — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani — lagged behind at 6.2% and 1.3%, respectively.
Clips of speeches and debate performances make up the majority of the video clips being uploaded by the campaigns these days.
But trust me, one of them will find a way to use YouTube effectively before this is all over with. And the rest, as they say, will be history.