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.

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.

Gendered Politics - Who’s Talking About Who?

Countless outlets - both in and out of media - are being used today to advertise and promote this year’s presidential candidates, one of the most influential being social networking. Trending likes, reposts, and retweets all weigh in on the digital discussion that’s changing the way our country does politics.

With the help of our partner sites, we’ve been tracking Twitter mentions and other trending elections-related news to find out how people are using social media to predict the turnout of this year’s presidential elections. One of the most interesting: How often males and females tweet about each candidate.

Chart: Daily Presidential Candidate Mentions by Gender on TwitterDescription: Male or Female? Who’s Dominating the Conversation by Candidate on Twitter?Tags: icharts, peoplebrowsr, kred, twitter, data, visualization, gender mentions, presidential candidates, elections, 2012, infographicAuthor: charts powered by iCharts

So far, it seems as though men are more likely to tweet about either candidate. PeopleBrowsr collected data that showed men posting more than 70,000 tweets above that which women were. Of both men and women, the name Romney was used more often than Obama by 255,199 to 217,771: a difference of 37,428 tweets.

What does this data say about the election? Are women more reluctant to discuss these candidates or less politically-inclined? And is Romney’s online popularity going to skyrocket him above the Obama campaign? Not necessarily.

The most important thing to remember about this data is that these are mentions. We can’t tell which of these tweets are positive or negative, so we can’t be sure who’s actually being favored in the online social world - quite yet, that is.

As for the delegation among genders, we know the female population are commanding contributors to social media sites. We’d simply like to hear more of what they have to say about politics.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Live! Elections 2012 charts for info on swing states and more, updating weekly so you can keep track of who’s talking about who. iCharts has teamed up with PeopleBrowsr and Experian to keep our readers up-to-date with elections news and to better help you answer the question: Who will come out on top this November?

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.

 

 

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.

iCharts Offers Bananas Plus Some for SurveyMonkey Users

Hello, SurveyMonkey Users!  Now Optimize Your Survey Data with iCharts.

If you are in the market for creating and sending out surveys, chances are you found yourself in the caring hands of SurveyMonkey for the simplicity, scalability and affordability of its tool.

What’s not to love? Survey set-up and distribution is a cinch and data collection behind the scenes is in real-time. You can get quick snapshots of how people see, feel and think about things that matter to you with their in-house charting even while the survey is still being fielded. But these charts are really just meant for your eyes only, giving you a pulse-check on  public sentiment. What about charts that are dressed with your brand for the world-stage, equipped with custom filtering and instant sharing capabilities? That’s where iCharts comes in with the SurveyMonkey data uploader we just launched today.

What Does That Mean?

It means that you can export your SurveyMonkey data, upload it into iCharts to design, create and share powerful charts.

Creating and Designing Charts from SurveyMonkey

We continue to do all the hard work for you. There is no need to re-format your data. You don’t need a programmer to sync your data to your design, nor do you need a graphic designer to pretty up your chart. iCharts takes care of all of it. But we make room for you to customize it to your own brand guidelines (logos, colors) with ways for you to optimize your SEO (hyperlinking, keywords, tagging).

Cross-tabbing and Filtering in Chart Form

We geek out for you with auto-generated cross-tab and data filters.
 Grab what you want to drill down by and segment your data on the fly. We’ve made it so that you skip having to run the numbers yourself then manually enter each value one-by-one into a whole different platform for charting.

Interactivity

We make it fun with data-focused interactive functionality. Viewers can explore cross-tabs and data filters that you have custom-selected for their use (click on the yellow buttons below) and flip through various data snapshots you have assigned for them to see (click on the left and right arrows next to Chart Views on the top right). Whether or not the filters and views are revealed or hidden to viewers is completely up to you.

Cannot retrieve chart

Share
We take social sharing to a whole new level with stand-alone chart embeds, sharing and clipping features. Journalists and bloggers can use your chart to report on your insights. Chart viewers who see conversation-value in your insights can share it easily with their social networks or via email.

So How do You Getting Started
?

  1. Sign-up and activate your free trial within 24-hours of sign-up.
  2. Ensure you are a SurveyMonkey Select or higher user.
  3. Export response data in a .zip file to upload to iCharts.

Now upload your data, design and start sharing with the world! #sweet

iCharts for SurveyMonkey