While the latest polls show Barack Obama and Mitt Romney running neck and neck, with neither side able to pull decisively away, the online battle looks like a different story entirely.
The Barack Obama campaign, with its strong track record online, appears to have pulled ahead both in terms of social media and online ad buying. Whether any of that matters we will have to wait and see.
On the social front the Obama campaign saw the phrase “Romnesia” and its hashtag trend worldwide on Twitter within 48 hours of the President’s two Romnesia postings to describe Romney’s change in policy.
The same was happening on Facebook where Obama’s Romnesia comments were liked by 364,963 people and shared nearly 57,696 times. Obama’s “Romnesia” expression has even inspired a fake movie poster.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 20, 2012
While Obama lost the first presidential debate, the narrative on Twitter quickly decided, the second time around the campaign was taking no chances. It wanted to ensure that its presence was as visible as possible.
In the second debate last week at Hofstra University in New York, with 7.2 million Twitter messages sent, the president’s account, @BarackObama, sent out 37 messages. These were re-tweeted 117,374 times. Compare that to the Romney team. The @MittRomney account sent two Twitter messages which were then re- tweeted 6,810 times.
In the end the Obama team was deemed to have won, but a question to Romney on immigration drew the biggest Twitter peak of the night.
Share of voice
In terms of online ads the Obama campaign is also outslugging Romney in that battle with a 93.3% share of voice in terms of display-impression volume in September across the top 20,000 publishers compared with the Romney campaign’s 6.7%.
In the six week between September 1 and October 14, the Obama camp had 497 creative executions running across the web compared with the Romney campaign’s 90, according to research by the analytics company Moat.
October is the month when both campaigns through all they have into the mix in the final spring to the election finish line.
Ad Age reports that since October online ad network Collective has seen political adspend rise seven-fold from the first week of September to the first week of October.
“The scale and sophistication of the Obama campaign’s digital ad operation should come as no surprise given its well-documented track record of organizing and fundraising online. It’s continued to press its perceived advantage in technology, opening a secretive “tech field office” in San Francisco last winter that’s staffed largely by volunteers who work around their day jobs.
“The Obama campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment on its digital spending and strategy for the weeks leading up to Election Day. Mr. Romney’s digital director, Zac Moffatt, acknowledged that his side is being outspent on digital, but said that he’s trying to win by purchasing efficiently and working with third-party vendors to identify key buckets of voters in swing state, Ad Age reports.
Moffat added that the Obama campaign was engaging in a “spray-and-pray model” and appeared to have money to burn.