YouTube views as a proxy for web successComparing the impact of web video on Obama and Clinton campaigns

Share |

We're often asked how organizations can measure the return on investment from social media. Frank Rich's column in today's New York Times effectively uses YouTube views as a proxy for the overall success of the Obama and Clinton campaigns in tapping the power of the web:

The Drudge Report’s link to the YouTube iteration of the CBS News piece [broadcasting Hillary Clinton's arrival in Bosnia, with no evidence to support her recollection of dodging sniper fire] transformed it into a cultural phenomenon reaching far beyond a third-place network news program’s nightly audience. It had more YouTube views than the inflammatory Wright sermons, more than even the promotional video of Britney Spears making her latest “comeback” on a TV sitcom. It was as this digital avalanche crashed down that Mrs. Clinton, backed into a corner, started offering the alibi of “sleep deprivation” and then tried to reignite the racial fires around Mr. Wright.

The Clinton campaign’s cluelessness about the Web has been apparent from the start, and not just in its lagging fund-raising. Witness the canned Hillary Web “chats” and “Hillcasts,” the soupy Web contest to choose a campaign song (the winner, an Air Canada advertising jingle sung by Celine Dion, was quickly dumped), and the little-watched electronic national town-hall meeting on the eve of Super Tuesday. Web surfers have rejected these stunts as the old-school infomercials they so blatantly are.

Senator Obama, for all his campaign’s Internet prowess, made his own media mistake by not getting ahead of the inevitable emergence of commercially available Wright videos on both cable TV and the Web. But he got lucky. YouTube videos of a candidate in full tilt or full humiliation, we’re learning, can outdraw videos of a candidate’s fire-breathing pastor. Both the CBS News piece on Mrs. Clinton in Bosnia and the full video of Mr. Obama’s speech on race have drawn more views than the most popular clips of a raging Mr. Wright.

Comments

Darren says

March 30, 2008 - 3:19pm
Interesting piece. The thing I really noticed, though, is how heavily hyperlinked this article from a big newspaper is. That's highly unusual. A lack of hyperlinks is one of my many sources of frustration when I read the mainstream media online.

Leave a comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

More information about formatting options

Social Signal on...

RSS feedTwitterFacebookGoogle+

Work Smarter with Evernote

Get more out of Evernote with Alexandra Samuel's great new ebook, the first in the Harvard Business Press Work Smarter with Social Media series!

Available on Amazon, iTunes and HBR.

Join Newsletter

Alex on Twitter