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Last night’s republican debate, as usual, was full of controversy and some would say entertainment. Candidates often encouraged the television audience, “Please, go to my website and see the details of my plans!” How many candidates are really using digital marketing to the fullest?

It’s clear that in the last 2 decades, advances in technology have changed our social habits dramatically and marketing has had to adapt. Political campaigning is no exception. For example, it’s been speculated that an important factor in Obama beating both McCain and Romney so definitively was his campaigns’ use of technology and digital marketing – making it easier for his voters to register online, launching several viral campaigns, etc.

A popular criticism of the GOP is how out-of-touch they’ve been with the culture and technology.

Will this be the case for 2016? Or have they learned?

Digital Marketing Tags on Candidate Sites

We wanted to assess how serious each candidate is using digital marketing to their advantage. Anecdotally, we figured an indicator might be the marketing and analytics tags (software) on their site.

So we scanned each candidates site and here is what we found:

gop-marketing-tags-2015

We also segmented this data by the category of tags each candidate is using. Check out the top categories used by for top candidates:

gop-digital-analytics-tools-breakdown

And for those who are really interested those in more details, check out the breakdown by product:

gop-tools-breakdown

Here’s the full list all the tags that we found across all sites:

AddThis
AdRoll
Advertising.com
Aggregate Knowledge
AppNexus
BidSwitch
Bing Ads
BlueKai
Connexity
Crazy Egg
Datalogix
DoubleClick Floodlight
DoubleClick Spotlight
Drawbridge
Dstillery
Facebook Connect
Facebook Custom Audience
Facebook Exchange (FBX)
Gaug.es
Google AdWords Conversion
Google AJAX Search API
Google Analytics
Google Dynamic Remarketing
Google Tag Manager
Google+ Platform
Heap
Hotjar
HubSpot
Krux Digital
LiveRamp
Marin Search Marketer
Marketo
Media Innovation Group
mediaFORGE
MediaMath
Mixpanel
Mouseflow
Neustar AdAdvisor
New Relic
OpenX
Optimizely
Perfect Audience
Piwik Analytics
Quantcast
Resonate Networks
Right Media
Rocket Fuel
Rubicon
ScoreCard Research Beacon
ShareThis
Signal
Tapad
TradeDesk
Tribal Fusion
TubeMogul
Twitter Advertising
Twitter Button
Typekit by Adobe
Visual Website Optimizer
Yahoo Analytics

Conclusions

  • According to these stats, Rick Santorum leads in the number of marketing tags on his website, with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders following closely behind. Republican front-runner and business/branding powerhouse, Donald Trump, actually has the least digital marketing tags.
  • Overwhelmingly, advertising tags outnumber all other tags. No surprise there!
  • As much as they are divided by the “aisle”, it seems everyone agrees on Google Analytics and Google Dynamic Re-marketing!
  • And while, everyone is collecting data and running ads, a selected few are serious about A/B testing and personalization and appear to be leveraging Optimizely (Clinton, Bush, Carson and Paul).

While anecdotal, it’s definitely interesting that Rick Santorum, who has the most digital marketing tags, is no where near the top of GOP polls, while it’s quite the opposite for Donald Trump, the on-and-off front runner has the least amount of digital marketing tags. If we assume the number of marketing tags on a candidate’s site is an indication of their digital marketing efforts, what does that say about GOP voters if digital marketing doesn’t seem to really affect who is leading their race in the primaries?

I know we’re stretching it, but that’s politics 🙂

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