Announcements of 2016 presidential bids have been filtering in for several months, and Facebook may be just the place for candidates to connect with millennials, based on recent research by GfK for Harvard University Institute of Politics.
When the study asked US millennial internet users about their digital political activities, respondents were most likely to have signed an online petition. However, the next four most popular responses all related to Facebook actions, as those with an account reported “liking” a political issue (30%) or candidate (24%) on Facebook, as well as using the social network to advocate for a political position. Twitter topped none of these activities. Respondents generally took a passive approach when participating in politics online, as they weren’t nearly as likely to contribute to online discussions outside of Facebook or take action by writing an email or letter supporting a political position or opinion.
Beyond millennials, Facebook appears to be the platform of choice among political web users. According to October 2014 research by ShareThis, 71.0% of US internet users said Facebook was the primary social channel they used to share content about the midterm elections. Twitter was second, with a mere 15.0%.
With every election season comes an advertising frenzy. In Q1 2015, Rocket Fuel looked at reactions to online ads specifically and found that nearly half of US voters in the 2014 midterm elections from five swing states took some sort of action after viewing a digital political ad, with 36% saying it had an effect on them voting in the election. Ad interactions, including clicks and video views, also ranked highly.