Hit or Miss? Tracking Presidential Candidate Website Traffic

Over the last few decades, the internet has evolved into a treasure trove of information, research, and data. Most of us turn to the web as an all-knowing resource whenever we have questions to be asked or itches to be scratched.

As we’ve discussed before, social media users have a notable influence in the way people vote. Not only is it easier to share information via social networks, but these collective communities tend to vote similarly. (See related Mashable story)

But how else can the internet predict where voters might cast their ballot? We turn to the first place any campaign-information-craving citizen would go: the official website of each presidential candidate.

Experian‘s Hitwise division has been partnered with iCharts since June to showcase the ebb and flow of traffic based on pivotal campaign events and organic inquiries of citizens seeking information. It’s easy to understand why the numbers rise steadily as we get closer to elections, but there are a number of areas where spikes in website clicks call our attention to the events circling that date.

For example, in the last 90 days the biggest increase in online traffic to Obama’s website happened between September 6 and 7; the same day that the Democratic National Convention was held and the subsequent day when media was abuzz with stats and facts from his speech. The same spike occured for Romney on the day he gave his GOP Convention Speech. Yet no matter how large the scale of any Republican event or speech, the hits on Romney’s website have not come close to the President’s.

So, what does this data mean for Election Day results? Truth is, it could be telling of many things:

  • People simply want to know more about each candidate’s policies and they’re reading up on campaign updates.
  • The demographics of online behavior are beginning to shape offline behavior. Undeniably search and social traffic is driven by key age groups and backgrounds.
  • Or, new voter registration, volunteering or donating to either campaign are on the rise.

But the biggest mystery - do these numbers reflect who will receive more votes on November 6?

Let us know what lingering questions you have about the campaigns and keep an eye out on our Live! Elections 2012 ChartChannel to see what topics are trending across the nation.

Elections Fever: Swing State Trends, Voter Turnout and Controversy

T-minus 21 days to Elections Day, November 6!
Will you vote? How will you vote?

Election fever is reaching a new pitch and, like many others, iCharts continues to track milestones and highlights by-the-numbers to document the course of this year’s political story. A few themes have become stand-outs as the world debates what will define results on November 6. Below are a few we’ve been tracking at iCharts.

Swing States Twitter Trends

There are seven states we’re capturing Twitter mentions for on a weekly basis with a little help from Peoplebrowsr’s API. Curious what last week looked like? Check out trends, by state, based on Twitter candidate mentions for week ending October 13.

Colorado
Florida
Iowa
New Hampshire
Nevada
Ohio 
Virginia

Voter Turnout 

For as much buzz as the Presidential Elections get every four years, only 64.1% turned out to the polls in 2008. It was seen at the biggest turnout since 1908, with a higher-than-norm appearance from the Democratic party and lag amongst Republicans.

In 2008, the boost for the Democratic party came largely from higher-than-average turnout rates amongst the Hispanic and African-American community. In 2012, it remains to be seen if this trend will carry forward as new voter registrations for these demographics and young people have been going down in recent years.

Controversial Topics

Over coming weeks you’ll continue to see iCharts publish data points about opinions on government control (see below chart), foreign policy, job creation and healthcare.

What topics are you most focused on to make your choice on November 6? We’d love to hear from you to spark new charting projects through November.

Changing Minds May Change the Tides

Last Wednesday’s presidential debate was surprising not for all that was said, but in the way that the hour and a half long segment changed the way that the country saw each candidate. Social media was buzzing about both Obama and Romney’s performances, almost even more than the actual topics either was covering.

Pew Research Center compared the public’s perceptions for each candidate the three days following the October 4th debate with information collected weeks before - and the results were telling.

The data shows a significant difference in public opinion between the two time periods.

The first we can see is the rising belief that Romney is a strong leader, tying him with Obama at 44%; whereas before, the Democratic party had a noticeable lead at 51%.

Another standout comparison is Obama’s continuing lead over Romney on being able to connect well with ordinary Americans. However, this number is down 7% since Romney’s performance at the debate, clearly indicating how Americans’ perspectives changed about the Republican candidate.

It seems as though some may have lost confidence in their contender, while others found theirs in the opposing side. Could this have changed after last night’s vice presidential debates? Will any of these figures have enough impact to sway the vote come Election Day?

Only 27 days until these questions and more are answered. Be sure to keep an eye on our Live! Elections 2012 page for weekly updated charts, keeping you current on hot topics circling around this year’s presidential race.

Want to learn more about iCharts? Sign-up for our next monthly live! demo webinar on October 17th.

Elections and Technology: The Transformational Shifts of 2012

At iCharts, it’s fair to say we’re a little data obsessed. We’re particularly data obsessed as it relates to this year’s U.S. Presidential Election.

Why? Because we’re witnessing, first-hand, dramatic shifts in how voters and politicians interact with one another based on technological advances in recent years.  Entertaining or serious, it’s come a long way in four years and even farther in the last two hundred.

Campaign Tracking in the 1800s

 

 

 

 

 


 

Campaign Tracking in 2012

 

 

 

 

 


 


Mashable’s Politics Transformed
 has had some great observations about this shift, highlighting a wide array of factors, all fueled by technological advances, that are shifting political behavior.

Real-Time Communications Have Been Accelerated By…

  • Mobile platforms and increased use of such as primary or secondary news sources
  • Social networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) where over 30% of the world spends their time on a daily basis. An Experian-Hitwise chart on iCharts puts more emphasis on this, showing week-over-week how Social consistently leads the pack on where voters seek and share information about candidates.

We Have More Accessibility to (Decision-Driving) Data

  • InfoUSA, Acxiom, Votizen and more are defining how User Data is collected to improve voter targeting via email, social, display media and search channels.
  • Candidate Data is also more rapidly collected and shared, be it poll stats, funding-raising information, or an analysis of how xyz candidate is marketing themselves on the web.

Visual Social Marketing Is the New Form of Communication

  • We touched on this topic a few weeks ago, but worth noting again that visualization tools are changing the way we share information. The explosion of cloud-based interactive, design and data-rich visualizations are proof that how-we-consume-content has changed forever.  Marketers and political candidates alike must face the reality that technology has sped up the frequency and format in how we engage with news, creating an insatiable appetite for uber visual, bite-size news stories versus long-form, text-centric articles.

Which elements do you believe will define which candidate wins on Election Day? 

It’s Beginning to Look Alot Like…Holiday Season!

Hard to believe we’re approaching that time of year when jack-o-lanterns haunt stoops, when kids ramble around in costumes, when fall dinner parties kick in and when xmas shopping begins.

But - it’s here! And with it, comes a series of fun facts and retail forecasts worth sharing.

 

Fun Facts via National Retail Federation

Retail % Increase in Spend Forecasts (Nov-Dec ’12)

“You have to be confident to spend, but because you’re confident doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll spend.” Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist at Gallup Poll

  • 4.1% increase (NRF)
  • 3.3% increase (ShopperTrak)

To read the full AP release story, read more here.

It’s New, and It’s Getting Big. Come Explore Inside the Olympics.

At iCharts we’re always itching to showcase what iCharts does for marketers, publishers, journalists and freelance bloggers. Not in a features and benefits way, or through a tutorial video, but in a way that shows iCharts in-action, such as Inside the Olympics, to expose the bigger challenge we’re aiming to solve: how to share valuable information and stories in bite-size formats that are data driven. We believe at iCharts, that we’re on the path to solving that.

How Does iCharts Work?

Subscribers, free or paid, can create charts by syncing data sources to a cloud-based platform that enables real-time publishing with or without design elements, plus interactive features for extended in-chart data mining. Users can choose to share their charting masterpieces on a website, blog, social networks, or privately with peers and colleagues via .PDF or .PNG files.

Why Inside the Olympics?

The Olympics is a monumental event with a wide array of commentary and data that highlights factoids from past and present. Many will create and explore Olympic articles, photos and video content surrounding the event. But no one, to-date, has journaled an event via charts to quickly expose trending topics, while also documenting past and current events. iCharts aims to fill that gap, while showcasing to others how they too can create short format content with rich data and information to be shared, tweeted, pinned, blogged, curated for digital magazines, or embedded on a website without the extended effort of writing a traditional article, press release or blog post. 

Because iCharts’ platform is flexible to absorb big or small datasets, it makes it easy to chart news as-it-happens or showcase statistics from prior events. Most charts for “Inside the Olympics” are static stories pulled from data partners like Experian and open data sources such as Guardian Data. But real-time charts can also be applied with or without content licensing such as medal counts.

The application of this project is scalable across a wide array of other journalistic and marketing oriented projects. As long as the user is prepared with data sources (or free form fast facts), images to complement the story, marketable copy for the chart title and description, it is entirely feasible to replicate the approach for Inside the Olympics.  It also should take no longer than an hour to produce a single chart from initial data upload to publish and share.

To follow Inside the Olympics or to learn more about iCharts, please visit http://www.icharts.net.

Inside the Olympics - Now Live!


Our special events ChartChannel Inside the Olympics is now live!

Did you know there are over 8,000 torchbearers during the relay?
That over 4 BILLION online viewers are expected to follow the Olympics?
Or that a women holds the fastest Olympic record in the 200M butterfly swim?

Continue reading

Prepping for the Olympics!

Wow. We’re only two weeks away from the Summer Olympics 2012! At iCharts we’re excited to soon launch an iCharts - Inside the Olympics - ChartChannel.

For now, follow along as we post new charts to showcase the buzz, hype and amazing stats the precede the actual event.

Today, our top chart story comes from Top End Sports poll, “What’s Your Favorite Olympics Sport?”


Subscribe here to get the latest iCharts Olympics coverage, via charts.

 

 

Charting Our Way Through the Olympics and Elections 2012

July 2012 brings us barbeques, ballgames and summer movies. But what are the most anticipated, historical events to chart? The Olympics and Elections 2012.

The Olympics: Told Like Never Before.
Ever follow the Olympics via charts? We certainly haven’t. But this year, you will. Stay tuned for great coverage spotlighting the “Road to the Olympics”, along with “Inside the Olympics” stats and news coverage throughout the event. Subscribe to London Olympics 2012 charts.

 


Elections 2012
Every four years, the journey to the White House calls on Amerians to weigh their political views. Healthcare, immigration, marriage rights, and job security are just one of many topics already playing a large role in guiding American sentiment. Watch for additional coverage - via charts - over coming months from data sources such as Reuters, Politico, Gallup and more. Subscribe to Elections 2012 charts.

Want to become a data partner to share your stories? Please contact us.

Why, When to Chart


 

Charts are either loved or hated.  Loved…for their ability to capture and create stand-alone stories. Hated… for the complexity and time and it takes to move from data collection > story creation > distribution. iCharts is here to help.

Why Chart?

Charts aren’t just a quick way to share dense information; they are images that convey a bigger storyline, a 101 for captivating communications. As Peter Guber argues, “Humans simply aren’t moved to action by ‘data dumps,’ dense PowerPoint slides, or spreadsheets packed with figures. People are moved by emotion. The best way to emotionally connect other people to our agenda begins with ‘Once upon a time…’ “.

When to Chart?

The Obvious
When you have data to drive a story.

The (Less) Obvious
When you have small or big datasets (e.g. top 10 lists vs. aggregated survey results of a recent poll) to share on social networks. Both use cases, regardless of data depth, have valuable factoid pass-along power when combined with strong visualizations.

The Upside?
Short-term, additive audience reach. Long-term, charts tweeted or shared in a social context get indexed on search engines Get your charting on!

Want to become a data partner to share your stories for FREE? Please contact us.