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The YouTube Election

While taking a look at the leaderboard for YouTube ads for January 2016, there are some familiar names at the top. Clash of Clans, Boom Beach and Pokémon — all popular gaming brands — control spots one through four. Gaming ads tend to perform well on YouTube, as there’s a demographic of users that spend a lot of time finding gaming content on the site.

However, politicians have begun to recognize the growing power of YouTube ads, and three of those top ten ads are political in nature. Ads from candidates Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and a PAC against Donald Trump, have received millions of views and are reaching their target audiences in ways TV ads simply cannot provide, and for a fraction of the cost.  

Using YouTube to advertise a political message works in a few different ways:

The most successful YouTube content creators are considered to be masters at responding to what their audience wants. A great example of responding to audience preference data came from Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Her advisors recognized that topics like refugees, immigration, gun control and the economy sat atop the list of search trends for political issues. Her campaign created an ad on immigration and utilized standard targeting features to reach voters who would be interested in the issue.

Some candidates are trying to get ahead of the curve by creating content on issues their audience may not even know they have, yet. During the Iowa caucus, Bernie Sanders released a video describing how to caucus in quick and entertaining detail.

The more savvy political teams are recognizing the power of YouTube creator influence. Some will do interviews with creators or create videos with them outlining their positions.  

The importance of YouTube advertising cannot be overstated.
  • Nearly half of all YouTube users aged 18-49 say their personal opinions have been influenced by YouTube Creators.
  • 69 percent of the people watching political content on YouTube are under the age of 35 and half of them watch primarily from their mobile phones.
  • 110 million hours of candidate and issue related content has been watched on YouTube.

Let that sink in for a minute: That is around 12,000 years’ worth of content that has been viewed since April 2015.

A report published by Borrell Research Associates outlines the growth of political digital ad campaigns. In 2016, a whopping $1 billion will be spent on digital media run political ads. That marks a 5,000% increase from the miniscule $22.25 million spent on digital ads in 2008. YouTube alone has reported a 294% increase on political ad spending since October 2015.

According to the report, spending on digital media advertising could balloon to nearly $3.3 billion dollars by the 2020 presidential campaign. It is also noteworthy to mention that even with such large growth, the political world lags behind the private sector when it comes to spending.  

The projected $1 billion would only roughly account for 9.5 percent of campaigns overall advertising budgets. In many other industries, digital media accounts for 30 to as high as 50 percent of the money spent on ads. Private sector entities understand the vast importance of digital advertising, but as always, politics is slow to catch up. Continue Reading No Comments

10 States Where Millennials Could Sway the Election

In February of this year, NPR released a report to answer the perennial question: do young people matter in politics?

In terms of sheer mass, the answer should be yes: as of 2016, millennials (born between 1982-2000) are the largest generation in the country (83 million). Yet they’re a generation notorious for non-participation: in 2014, they had the lowest voter turnout of any age group.

In 2008, millennials are credited with swinging the election in Obama’s favor, with 50% voter turnout and heavy preference for Obama. However, that number dropped in 2012, and some believe that millennials are simply disengaged from politics and won’t turn out.

Here are 10 states where millennials can truly impact election results by turning out:
  1. Nevada
  2. North Carolina
  3. Florida
  4. Virginia
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Colorado
  7. Ohio
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Iowa
The key issue will be, can campaigns reach millennials in order to get them to the polls? This generation is notoriously moving away from television and is getting the majority of their media from social media and online video – in fact, YouTube reaches more 18-49 year olds in America than any US cable network. Continue Reading No Comments

Top YouTube Stars Join Forces With Boxer Legacy to Give Democrats a Millennial Edge In Election

700,000 YouTube “Stars” Poised to Push Influence in 2016 Down-Ticket Races

Washington DC – Democratic candidates can expect to get a boost in the upcoming election, thanks to a demographic that’s increasingly difficult to reach with traditional advertising methods: young people. Fueled by a wave of social influence across platforms like YouTube, nearly 700,000 reach virtually every one of America’s so-called coveted “millennials”, ages 18-35.

USfluence, a politically focused YouTube network operated by Thoughtful Media Group, recently launched efforts to channel the energy behind YouTube’s more influential talent, many of which have monthly viewership in the millions. To help connect these influencers with democratic House, Senate and Presidential candidates, the company recently hired political activist and veteran filmmaker, Nicole Boxer, who is introducing these young talent to the ways of Washington.

“Today’s millennial generation not only identifies strongly with democratic values, candidates, campaigns and causes, but they are proving to be more engaged this political cycle.” said Boxer. “Talented YouTube creators have the potential to move voters from their laptops and cellphones to the polls. This is not only exciting, but it could translate into meaningful gains for Democrats in the 2016 race.”

Boxer, who joined the USfluence team as a senior producer early during this political season will be working closely with Democratic Senate candidates, bringing their campaign messages to millennial audiences in their states, while the company’s House efforts begin ramping up this week.

“There’s no question as to the impact of YouTube to drive awareness for today’s political candidates” said Doss Struse, former US President of polling organization YouGov and an advisor to Thoughtful Media Group. “What’s changing this year is in its ability to drive people to rallies and ultimately to the ballot box. Some of these YouTube stars have much greater influence than even mainstream celebrities.”

Participating influencers range from 5,000 subscribers to several million. Popular fitness YouTube star Gia Fey’s channel “BodybyGia” boasts more than 300,000 fans who turn to her for fitness advice and instruction. She believes that her influence has legs to carry candidates and causes she likes all over the country as well. “People may watch my channel because I help them look and feel better. But they also listen when I share my personal stories, my views and my values.” said Fey.


About USfluence: USfluence is a leading digital media company, owned by Thoughtful Media Group in California. We connect YouTube influencers with highly relevant causes, campaigns and candidates. YouTube is the perfect place to reach millennials who prefer watching their favorite YouTube influencers over traditional media outlets. These influencers are sincere and credible and their opinion matters to a wide, yet targeted audience. We partner with these influencers in a way that provides pinpoint accuracy of reach, while delivering impact often superior than all other forms of media. We do so by leveraging the loyal following of our influencers, who drive unparalleled reach and effectiveness of speaking to their audiences in your words, with their voice.

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