More Video Views for SNL, Fallon Election Spoofs Than For the Real Candidates

More Video Views for SNL, Fallon Election Spoofs Than For the Real Candidates

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In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Iowa will hold the first caucuses in the nation on Feb. 1 and New Hampshire will hold the first primary in the nation on Feb. 9. So, it’s probably time to pay closer attention to which presidential campaign has a winning video marketing strategy.

According to The New York Times: “History suggests that each party’s eventual nominee will emerge from 2015 in one of the top two or three positions, as measured by endorsements, fund-raising and polling.” But I would argue that YouTube and Facebook, the top two video platforms, are also likely to play a significant role in determining who gets elected President of the United States in 2016. Why? Well, according to comScore, 197.5 million Americans watched online content videos via desktop computer in November 2015. Google Sites, driven primarily by video viewing at, ranked as the top online video content property in November with 174.5 million unique viewers. Facebook ranked #2 with 90.5 million viewers.

Can YouTube Community Swing Presidential Vote?

Even if only 57.5% of YouTube’s viewers turnout to vote in 2016, which was the average turnout in 2012, they would represent about 100.3 million voters. That’s 79.6% of the 126 million people who actually voted in 2012. This makes the YouTube Community one of the biggest groups that can swing the outcome of any future presidential election. In fact, YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S. That gives YouTube more clout than Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC.

Ironically, if you look at the presidential campaigns, most of them seem to be fighting the last war. Actually, since the Obama for America campaign used YouTube very effectively in the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012, many of today’s campaigns are acting like this is still 1992, 1996, 2000 or 2004. So, they’re like aging generals who are still fighting old wars that aren’t really relevant any more.

Where are the new battlefields that will determine the winner of the 2016 presidential campaign? According to Tubular Labs, 16,900 creators have uploaded 83,000 videos to YouTube in the United States during the past 365 days on the topics of Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, or Donald Trump. These videos have a total of 623 million views, or about 7,500 views per video.

The top video with 8.2 million views is “Obama Calls Donald Trump with Debate Advice” by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

In second place with 7.8 million views is “Donald Trump Interviews Himself in the Mirror” by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. And in third place with 5.7 million views is “Donald Trump’s Phone Call with Hillary Clinton” by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

The first video by a candidate is in fourth place. With 4.8 million views, it’s “Getting Started | Hillary Clinton” by Hillary Clinton. In fifth place with 4.3 million views is “Hillary Clinton Election Video Cold Open” – SNL by Saturday Night Live.

In sixth place with 3.8 million views is “Donald and Melania Trump Cold Open” – SNL by Saturday Night Live.”

5 Out of 6 Top Election Videos by Comedians

In other words, five out of the six top YouTube videos about the 2016 U.S. presidential election have been created by two groups of late-night comedians. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live are the key influencers who are shaping perceptions of the leading candidates of both political parties. And they could end up having more impact on who wins the election than the prolonged series of TV debates or the endless cable TV news coverage of the campaigns.

As for which presidential campaigns have a winning video marketing strategy, it appears that Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton have figured out that getting the late-night comedians to poke fun at them makes them the centers of attention. These reverse endorsements help improve poll numbers, which increase fund-raising. And, yes, that makes the 2016 presidential election totally unlike anything that I’ve witnessed in the past 44 years.

So, who or what might upset the applecart? Well, one of the top videos uploaded directly to Facebook during the past 365 days is “Donald Trump Is The Worst” by NowThis. It has 18.8 million views, although Facebook counts views very differently than YouTube does.(and the video has since been removed and re-uploaded)

Another one of the top videos uploaded directly to Facebook is “Bernie Sanders is the candidate our generation wants — and it looks like he actually has a shot at winning” by NowThis. It has 16.3 million views.

So, keep an eye on NowThis, which tells news stories with short-form video, tailored for the social and mobile user. Maybe breaking news stories will get the last laugh instead of the late-night comedians.


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