Counting UVs To Political Websites

Those of us who have been working in the web business for the past 12 years have become obsessed with page views and unique visitors (UVs). Building a large and growing web audience has been the single most important metric for value creation.

In the political world, the metric seems to be money. We learned last week that Hillary raised $25mm, Obama raised $20mm, and so did Mitt Romney. John McCain only raised $12.5mm and apaprently is in trouble.

But if I was running a campaign I’d be paying close attention to my web audience. As Howard Dean showed last time around, you can raise a lot of money from the rank and file supporters if you have a strong web strategy.

And so I found these numbers from comScore interesting:

Hillary_barack_2

I wondered why comScore only published numbers for Hillary and Barack. Then I did some more research and found out that the leading Republican candidates’ websites have smaller audiences than this blog:

For those of you who are Edwards fans, his web audience according to Compete is about 100k UVs, larger than any of the Republicans, but much smaller than Hillary and Barack’s.

Two months don’t tell a particularly interesting story, but it’s clear that Obama is holding his own against Hillary on the web as well as the fundraising front.

And based on my experience with both candidate’s web sites, I’d say Obama has a much stronger web presence. It’s real, authentic, social, and involving. Hillary’s is like her campaign, solid, professional, and unengaging.

comScore published some more data that’s interesting.

Age_table

And

Wealth_and_race_table

Hillary’s web audience is older and wealthier. Obama’s is younger and less affluent. I suppose that bodes well for Hillary because her audience is more likely to contribute, organize, and vote.

But as I said earlier in this post, two months don’t tell much of a story. These are baseline numbers to watch. What’s important is how this changes over time. What if Barack’s web audience becomes wealthier and whiter? What if his web audience continues to grow while the other candidates’ websites flatten out?

I’d like to see comScore start tracking all of the six major candidates’ websites even though only two of them meet their traffic/audience cutoffs. The web is the most powerful information service out there because everything people do on it is so measurable. This is important data and I’d like to see it reporterd at least every month for the remainder of the 2008 presidential race.