US Elections 2016 Report: Bernie Sanders Getting More Traffic Than All Candidates Combined

Our latest US Presidential Election Report shows Bernie Sanders is winning the internet, generating more traffic to his campaign website than all other candidates combined.

2016 Election Traffic Bernie Sanders Leading

The Democratic candidate secured over 5 million visits to his website in September – leading the field among challengers from both parties. In contrast, his nearest competitors, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, recorded visits of 1.6 million and 1.35 million, respectively, to their campaign sites. The analysis of 10 leading candidates from July to September 2015, reveals that the worst-performing campaign hubs are (65,000 visits in September) and (55,000).


Check your spam folder

Sanders is mastering the art of the email and engaging with his constituents. As a share of traffic, Sanders is pulling in twice the rate from email than the next candidate.  Email is responsible for 12% of traffic to Sanders’ site in September.  In contrast, Clinton saw only 5.32% of her overall traffic come via emails, Bush 1%, and Trump 0.92%. Email-generated traffic still decreased over the past three months, presumably due to heightened fatigue among subscribers.


Immigration and tax driving voter searches

In the battle on issues, “immigration” drove the most search traffic share to Donald Trump’s campaign site (2.67% of search traffic) while “tax” drove 3.7% of search traffic to Rand Paul. In contrast, hot-button issues, such as gun regulation and healthcare,  saw no significant search traffic to any candidates between July and September.


In cases where users simply type the direct URL to visit a candidate’s site (direct traffic), Hillary Clinton is the clear leader, given her brand recognition and profile. The Democratic front runner has a straightforward domain on her side, contrasting with her competition. Did Donald Trump really need his middle initial in the URL ?


Carson wins on social media 

In the social media race, Facebook has emerged as a clear battleground, driving more than 50% of all social media traffic for the candidates. Overall, Ben Carson is the undisputed social media winner, with 34.8% of his campaign website traffic generated from this source. However experienced an impressive rise in share of traffic from social media, from 12.2% in July to 26.1% in September (25,620 visits to 65,250). This was likely the result of the campaign ramping up social media activity after Bush had the lowest share in July compared to the competition.

Here’s what Hilla Meller, SimilarWeb Digital Insights Manager had to say when I asked about critical factors to success:
“Investing in growing traffic to their site will ultimately mean growing their e-mail base, which represents the most loyal constituents. Relatively speaking, spend on digital media is nowhere near as high as traditional media, but its impact can be vast. Smaller campaigns can receive a bigger bang for their buck with smart investments that drive traffic to their sites.”


The SimilarWeb Digital Insights Team will continue to analyze the emerging trends defining the presidential campaign’s increasingly digital footprint.


Download full US Presidential Election Report

About the Author -

Moshe Alexenberg is the Head of Content and Digital Insights at SimilarWeb. He has an MBA in Strategic Management and his online marketing expertise is in content marketing, digital storytelling, and data analytics.

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