Hackernoon logoElection 2016: behind the social media numbers by@asandre

Election 2016: behind the social media numbers

Andreas Sandre Hacker Noon profile picture

Andreas Sandre

Comms + policy. Author of #digitaldiplomacy (2015), Twitter for Diplomats (2013). My views here.

Who ruled election day? Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, or?

The day after election day, the New York Times wrote:

Forget about Snapchat and set aside YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. For all the bluster over the last year about which social media network would dominate the election, 2016 was no different from years past: It was another Twitter moment.

Not only Twitter was able to amass a staggering one billion-plus election-related posts raced across the network between the first presidential debate in September and the morning before election day, but its reach “was particularly striking in the number of posts embedded outside of the service and into news sites,” as the paper reported.

Election night was “the most-Tweeted election day ever, with more than 75 million global election-related Tweets sent from before polls opened to just after president-elect Donald Trump’s 3am ET speech,” according to joint press release by Twitter and Buzzfeed. That’s more than double the 31 million sent during the entirety of Election Day four years ago.

This was the most-viewed U.S. election related live stream on Twitter, surpassing unique viewer totals for U.S. political convention and presidential debate live streams.

The two platforms partnered for the live stream special “Election Night Live: We did it America” which reached 6.8 million unique viewers. “This has been several years in the making, and our whole company is really invested,” Bridget Coyne, a senior partnerships manager at Twitter, told the New York Times. “You may agree or disagree, but I believe today is a really unifying opportunity to watch.”

According to the statistics released by Twitter, the live coverage attracted a young, mobile audience, with 83% of logged-in live viewers under the age of 35, and 73% of all viewers on mobile devices.

On Facebook, more than 115 million people worldwide generated over 716 million likes, posts, comments and shares related to the election Tuesday.

According to CNN, 8.8 billion posts, likes and comments were posted between March 23, 2015, when Ted Cruz became the first politician to declare his candidacy, and November 1. The company said the second presidential debate, held in early October, was the most talked about event of the campaign. It generated more than 92 million “interactions” by almost 20 million users.

“The conversation about the election is happening on Facebook — it’s really become the new town hall,” Facebook’s global politics and outreach director Katie Harbath told CNBC. “And the campaigns seeing the greatest success on the platform are those that are really taking advantage of that by reaching out and having an actual, two-way dialogue with voters.”

Nearly 3.7 million people shared they voted on Facebook by 3pm on election day.

According to Authority Labs, over 218 million people were eligible to vote this year, yet only 128 million people actually voted.

Even though there was still a tremendous amount of people who chose not to vote and protested against voting, those who did vote encouraged others to do so on social media.

This made the “I Voted” sticker on social media a popular item to share.

Using more than just a sticker, people posted photos and videos of them walking into buildings to vote or of their mail-in ballots. Thanks to social media, people had a place to share that they had voted and encourage their friends and family to do the same. Celebrities also participated in the encouragement and shared posts and photos asking their fans to vote.

On Snapchat, which on any given day reaches 41% of all 18- to 34- year-olds in the U.S., its younger users have been immersed in the election, too, with nearly two-thirds following it closely, according to USA Today. Snapchat has fed that interest with a steady stream of election filters and political features produced by campaign veterans.

That included a dynamic election results filter through a feed supplied by The Associated Press, similar to dynamic results geofilters used during the primaries and caucuses that were seen by more than 100 million users; and sponsored geofilters, which typically reach 40 percent to 60 percent of Snapchatters.

According to Mashable, Snapchat entrenched itself in the election. For candidates, the company also provided a free campaigning tool. In addition, they recruited top political ad sales people.

In the spring of last year, it built a team dedicated to getting politicians to use the platform and hired a team of producers who then attended rallies, debates and other events nationwide.
Andreas Sandre Hacker Noon profile picture
by Andreas Sandre @asandre. Comms + policy. Author of #digitaldiplomacy (2015), Twitter for Diplomats (2013). My views here.Read my book!

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