Many data surveys were publicized during the 2008 election comparing the online popularity of candidates in the social media space, including for video content. But does online buzz match really match up with offline conversions, in this case – voting patterns for presidential candidates? When it comes to YouTube video buzz, new evidence shows that may very well be the case.How to measure video search performance and election results

Our own analysis of a report put out just before the election by the search marketing firm, Prime Visibility, found that their buzz metric percentage scores tabulated on YouTube closely matched the percentages of the electoral college vote (which is the determinant for what wins a presidential election, with only a 4% margin of difference.

We reported recently on Prime Visibility’s measurement tool, “Prime Buzz,” which featured buzz scores for presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain across 26 of the most popular social media websites. ReelSEO conducted its own Video SEO analysis of the data to see if there was any correlation between video search stats and the presidential election results.

We dissected the data in Prime Visibility’s Prime Buzz report to the following components.

  • Buzz metric scores for broad/extended searches on the last name of each candidate.
  • YouTube and Metacafe video scores. (The two video channels with data featured in the report.)

How “buzz” was weighted and measured

According to Prime Visibillty’s own explanation of its report, the “buzz scores” were based on its own assigned weights to a number of traffic metrics
  • Traffic rank – how the particular website ranks compared to all other websites on the Internet
  • Links – This measurement is based on the total number of web pages linking to a particular website.
  • Page views – the average number of pages a particular individual views on a website.
  • Competitive rank – Each of the traffic measurements are weighted to determine how a site is performing compared to its competitors.

Prime Visibility’s Buzz Scores for video search

After totaling the buzz scores for the video sharing sites, we then separated the candidates by the percentages of that total score, which is what is shown on the left-hand pie chart below. We then compared this to the percentages of electoral votes received by both candidates (which is the conversion that matters in a presidential election, as opposed to the popular vote). The final results showed only a 4% difference, well, within the accepted range for national poll data.
Total social media buzz and name search
How does the video data for name search compare to the social media spectrum? According to the figures we gathered from Prime Visibility’s report, the figures were much closer. Whereas Obama had a 28% buzz advantage with name search for the video space, he only had an 8% advantage for the entire social media space.
While this is by no means a scientific study, the data could confirm that web video activity online better matches direct response rates with political campaigns than other social media sites.  Politicians gearing for the 2010 season should be paying extra attention to the online video space and starting investing more of their campaigns into research, web-specific video production, and building social media buzz early.

The political-to-commercial connection

Granted, there are differences between the corporate and political world, and a presidential campaign can have lots of different goals than a commercial campaign. But campaigns in both realms have a much better likelihood of success, and precautions from failure failure, if they pay attention to their search activity and social media buzz from the video content that’s out there for starters.