This is the first in what I hope will be a series of articles where I examine how the online community is impacting the 2008 Presidential Election and attempt to use traditional marketing analysis or theory to predict movement within the race.
What does that mean exactly? Well, for example, over the past month or so, every major candidate for each party has either announced a run for The White House or announced an exploratory committee - with the most recently, Senator Clinton, Governor Richardson, Senator Brownback and Congressman Duncan Hunter joining the fray.
How has the online world reacted from a trackable traffic point of view? And what would this mean if these were a series an online product launches?
Simplistically speaking, in a corporate marketing model, I believe in the basics of increased site traffic being the first step to successful online marketing. True, you have to convert and get clicks and sales, but if you don't have traffic, you don't have a basis to do much of anything.
Alexa is perhaps the most public method we have of looking at sites through an equally flawed / equally correct prism and judging the traffic response from potential candidate's announcing. Again, I'm not claiming it is the perfect traffic tracking system, but it should be accurate enough to relatively judge sites against each other in the same time period.
So what have the recent announcements shown us? It's indisputable. We have a clear winner.
In her announcement, Senator Clinton's Daily Reach Number climbed to over 900 - daily reach being of every million people on the internet, how many were on that given site. This is very strong traffic - a longer term view will show that this number is higher than johnkerry.com's site ranking through a good portion of the fall of 2004.
For comparison's sake, Senator Obama was second at 590 and Senator Edwards third at 190. Lagging seriously were the Republican candidates with Senator McCain the top Republican who barely hit 50, then Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney topping out at 25 with Sam Brownback and Duncan Hunter not registering at all.
Conclusions? Democrats are more active online. Democrats are more excited online. And Senator Clinton is the clear frontrunner. In fact, right after her announcement, her site, www.hillaryclinton.com was the top ranked site of any Democrat or Progressive site on the web. Far above Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Crooks and Liars and many others.
Now, if Peter Daou and Senator's Clinton's team can maintain this momentum, it would be the first sign of netroots and grassroots strength moving towards Senator Clinton that others are doubting even exists. And it would be a powerful tool. Imagine the top ranked Democratic site in the hands of a candidate? It's going to be an interesting two years indeed.
Note: to see some of the sites and charts I reference here, just visit www.alexa.com; click on traffic rankings and enter the site name.