Use of Social Media in the 2012 Presidential Election


With the 2012 presidential election heating up and Election Day around the corner, we’ve been closely following the candidates’ campaigns and their use of social media to communicate their messages to the voting public. Looking at some of the most used social media mediums by the campaigns and major news outlets, we found some really interesting statistics on the use and influence of social media throughout the candidates’ 2012 presidential campaigns.


Twitter has proved to be one of the most important means of communication throughout the 2012 presidential election. It serves as both an information feed for the candidates to promote their respective personas, political viewpoints, and proposed plans-of-action, as well as a digital forum for the candidates, media, and public to discuss their thoughts on political events such as the presidential debate. Twitter has sparked political conversation and has fostered interaction with the candidates and other politically related users that has dramatically altered the very definition of a presidential campaign.


Like Twitter, Facebook has had an extraordinary impact on communication and engagement pertinent to the 2012 presidential election. The candidate’s use of Fan Pages and social advertising have opened new doors and established new social norms to the way in which people think and talk about the presidential election.

  • When directly informed of a politically related action on Facebook (i.e. a friend posted a link about voting for Obama on his/her wall), users are almost twice as likely to participate in that same activity than those who were not informed.
  • On average, for every person that broadcasts political activity on Facebook, 4 additional Facebook friends also participate in the same activity.

YouTube (and Google+)

YouTube and Google+ both create a paradoxically familiar but unique experience from Twitter and Facebook for the candidates, media, and users alike to communicate with each other about the 2012 election. Debate streams, Google+ Hangouts, micro-video ads, and even traditional campaign ads on the candidates’ and news outlets’ respective channels have fundamentally transformed political culture to become pop culture.

  • Since the beginning of the election cycle in mid-2011, 2.7 billion videos (out of 370 thousand videos uploaded) mentioning “Obama” or “Romney” have been viewed.
  • Since the beginning of the election cycle, official campaign videos posted by both President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney have been viewed over 150 million times.
  • YouTube’s average daily audience has reached over 4 billion unique views per day — a stark increase from 2008 when daily viewership was in the hundreds of millions.


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