The first time YouTube has had an impact on an American presidential election was back in 2008, Sarah Palin’s “Obama girl” sound bites. Last January 3 of the top 10 most watched YouTube ads were political ads designed to help boost campaign support. The amount of eyes watching those ads were millions more than any other ad that corporate America has ever created. The consensus is that political advertisement on YouTube is a game-changer; it is a powerful marketing tool that cannot be ignored by a serious contender.
With over 1 billion viewers, YouTube has grown so incredibly large that no single TV network can match its reach. As Chris Wilson, founder of WPA Opinion Research and the director of research and analytics for the Ted Cruz campaign has quoted: “Anybody at this point who doesn’t get it’s a part of everyday life … is myopic at best and malpractice at worst”.
He goes on to say that YouTube has played a role in a number of presidential campaigns, but today it has gotten to the point that if you are not using it, then there is a good chance you’ll lose. Part of the success of Donald Trump as a political candidate this year has been because he has more YouTube views than all other candidates combined.
The amount spent for this year’s YouTube ad campaigns is estimated to be in the region of $300 million. This sum is more than will be spent on radio and newspaper ads combined. Steve Grove, director of Google’s News Lab, says: “Politicians go where the eyeballs are”. With that in mind you can expect an increasing amount of pressure on political candidates to crack the YouTube nutshell if they want a real chance of winning.
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