The Most Popular Content On Political Websites Near Election Day
Over the past month, we've been involved in building special election campaign websites and primary websites for hotly contested races around the nation. Now that those races are over, but the bulk of races across the country are just heating up, we thought it'd be a great opportunity to take a close look at the content that voters were most interested in around the Election Day.
I chose four races on which we had great data: a US Senate Primary, a Congressional special election, a State Senate special election, and a State Senate primary. The elections were scattered through the country and each one had a lot of media attention and big spends for the respective position.
Next, I looked at the Google Analytics for each campaign from two weeks out through election day. I figured that this was the prime time in which media was covering the candidates, campaigns were sending email blasts, and the heaviest period of online and traditional advertising spending.
Since I wanted to get an idea of the most compelling content, I used total pageviews rather than visitors. The campaigns were all popular enough that I thought the factor of campaign staff and candidate family pageviews would be marginal compared to total views. I then subtracted out pageviews that were for the homepage or splash page -- the goal is to figure out what content voters are seeking out not just what they land on by default.
The content on the four campaigns was rather congruous, but if a campaign was lacking a content section (e.g., Events), I didn't count it against the average and just divided that section's sum by three rather than four.
The most popular five content sections were:
About and Issues were as I suspected. Those are the general areas that voters are most interested in when they visit the site. We still see candidates who leave their issues section blank for months at a time -- this data demonstrates that Issues content is a vital aspect of any online political campaign.
The News section is a result of individual articles being emailed out and candidate or issue related Google searches that land visitors on a specific news release. This fact reinforces the importance of SEO for political campaigns and of keeping a freshly updated website through a Content Management System.
Are the results surprising to you? Are they consistent with what you've seen on your own campaign site? Look forward to hearing if this limited test group aligns with other campaigns around the country.