Which Candidate is More FANtastic on Facebook?

 

 

 

flag FacebookThe normal American will likely weigh in on who won the various presidential debates, but as a Facebook advertiser, I find that who is winning online can be a lot more interesting.

 

Consider the two candidates’ Facebook pages and fans. While certainly Obama had been leveraging Facebook for a longer period of time since serving in office, the stats still offer some good insight.

 

Here’s the fan picture:

 

Barack Obama: 31,275,993 likes

Mitt Romney: 10,502,899 likes

 

While Obama has more fans, his fan base is still growing, but at a slower rate than his opponent. In the last 30 days, Obama’s fanbase has grown 8.5% and Romney’s 44.6%.

 

“Talking about this” number show that Romney’s fans are engaging more in the posted content. This number tracks conversations happening around their pages.

 

Mitt Romney: 3,283,749 talking about this

Barack Obama: 2,884,682 talking about this

 

 

It’s also interesting to see the impact of the presidential debates on the fan base. In the graph below, the vertical grey lines mark the dates of the presidential debates, including the second one, which was the vice presidential debate.

 

presidential fan increases

 

We see the biggest increase after the first debate on Oct. 3rd, but also increases after the Oct. 16 and Oct. 22 debates. The vice presidential debate, on Oct 11, seems to be the least effective at generating fans for the candidates themselves.

 

On Oct 9, we see a big spike in new followers for Obama. He visited Columbus, OH, that day, but that’s probably not enough to explain that significant a reaction. Perhaps an email campaign blast to supporters?

 

Advertising for the candidates is interesting, to say the least. Looking at ads by most impressions by week, the first thing we notice is that Romney uses photos of himself, while Obama is using images that look like his audience. The first image is a regular-guy sort of image with the second one looks like a family vacation photo, trying to illustrate connection with average Americans. Romney’s glamour shots are sans tie, and make him look approachable, patriotic, and even dateable.

obama facebook ads

romney facebook ads

In the messaging, both candidates include competitive language.  Obama is saving the economy and Romney is saving America in general. One major issue with Obama’s ads is the lack of a strong call to action. The Romney ads, which ask for donations or likes, are far more direct. While there are many ad variations that are being shown this election season, the ads in this post are reported to have received top impressions.

 

While you consider your decision this upcoming election day, enjoy a couple of ad variations that are particularly interesting.

mitt microphone ad

 

When you look very, very closely at this tiny image, you can see Romney is holding a microphone in front of this neck. I thought for some time he was wearing an ascot.

obama birthday ad

 

Putting the social in social media, Obama asks supporters to sign his birthday card. +1 for cutesy, but -1 for not exuding presidential presence.

mitt romney shameless merchandise

 

Nothing like an official Mitt Romney shirt to coordinate with the flag supporters are waving.

 

And finally…

 

obama and bill clinton ad

 

The ladies love Bill for his charisma and economic policies. This one should have been targeted to women.

Lisa Raehsler

About Lisa Raehsler

Lisa Raehsler is founder and principal strategist at Minnesota-based online advertising agency Big Click Co.
This entry was posted in Advertising. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Which Candidate is More FANtastic on Facebook?

  1. Dennis Yu says:

    Hi Lisa,

    How much of the increase in Romney’s engagement do you think is due to advertising vs Obama?

    Mitt has about 60% of his active Facebook base as female. Do you consider this a reflection of negative sentiment or perhaps a positive result of female-targeted ads?

    Dennis

    • Hi Dennis, I noticed that the Romney camp did post more frequently than the Obama team, so there may be more interaction based on a greater number of posts.

      The female fan base doesn’t seem very significant to me, as its only a 60/40 split. I would guess women are more likely to socially engage on Facebook, ie. actively seeking and joining a page, than men. Have no actual data to support that though :)

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