Does Video Have the Power to Change Midterm Election Results?

Does Video Have the Power to Change Midterm Election Results?

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With Labor Day approaching, it’s time to turn our attention away from finding answers to entertaining questions like, “How did Activia and Shakira’s ‘La La La’ become the most shared video ad ever?” It’s time to get serious and start looking for answers to important questions like, “Does video have the power to change election outcomes this fall?” Hey, I’m sorry to spoil the last week of your summer vacation – if you’ve actually found the time to have one. But, the FIFA World Cup in Brazil ended July 13, 2014, and the midterm elections in the United States and coming up Nov. 4, 2014.

So, just in case there are a handful of internet marketers and video content producers who aren’t political junkies, here’s what you need to know: During this midterm election year, 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested along with all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives. Plus, elections will be held for governor in 36 states.

The Current State of Politics in the U.S.

According to RealClearPolitics, nine Senate races are toss-ups and another three are considered in-play, 17 House races are toss-ups and another 27 are in-play, plus nine governor races are toss-ups and another six are in-play. However, over at FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver wants to advance a cautionary note: “It’s still early, and we should not rule out the possibility that one party could win most or all of the competitive races. It can be tempting, if you cover politics for a living, to check your calendar, see that it’s already August, and conclude that if there were a wave election coming we would have seen more signs of it by now. But political time is nonlinear and a lot of waves are late-breaking, especially in midterm years.” Get it? Got it? Good.

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Video and Political Strategy

Now that everyone’s up to speed, let me share with you the results of a recent survey by YuMe, a leading provider of digital video brand advertising solutions, which looked at current trends around voter viewing habits and media consumption for the upcoming midterm elections.

In June 2014, YuMe’s survey polled 817 intended voters from a nationally-representative online panel to show the value of using digital multi-screen video in political campaigns. Results confirmed rampant multi-screen viewing trends, and gleaned insights into voters’ planned behavior for the upcoming political midterm elections. These results expressed the impact of using digital media to build a successful and strategic political campaign, the growing importance of user-initiated pre-roll video, and the benefits of reinforcing a candidate or advocacy group’s message and call-to-action with streaming video.

Key takeaways include:

  • More than 60% of voters state they are likely to use digital video for watching debates, speeches, and highlights from campaigns.
  • 54% claim news websites as their main source of information about candidates and their campaigns.
  • Almost half (48%) agree that it is important to be able to follow election progress on multiple devices.
  • Streaming video has become an important source of information, with 44% likely to stream video on a connected device to keep up-to-date.
  • 32% of voters will stream video from a computer/laptop, 15% on a smartphone, 16% on a tablet, 11% on a smartTV.
  • Ads continue to be an important source of information for voters (Television 45%, Online Ads 17%, Online Video 16%, Campaign supported online video 15%).

YuMe key takeaways

In a press release, Bryson Smith, YuMe’s VP Political, said, “Results support our hypothesis that digital video ads are important and influential in the political realm.” He added, “The positive impact of multi-screen video is becoming more apparent to clients, and is now seen as an important campaign strategy.”

YuMe created an infographic of its survey results, which appears below.


YuMe also published a full report on its research study, which I read over the weekend. I fell out of my chair after looking at one of the charts, which indicates that 84% of registered voters intend to vote in the upcoming midterm election. Another 5% who are not registered voters yet, intend to vote.

YuMe turnout

If they actually vote on Nov. 4, 2014, then Silver is right: Political time is nonlinear and there can still be a lot of late-breaking waves, especially in this midterm year.


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