How Barack Obama Beat John McCain With New Media

Nov 5th, 2008 | By | Category: Featured Story, General, Podcasting Events

Two years ago, we predicted that the next President of the United States would be a podcaster. 


People are steadily moving their attention to new media and newspapers and old media are dying. We knew that no candidate could win the 2008 election without getting their message in front of people on their computer, on their iPods, on their cell phones and anywhere else people listen to, read and watch new media.

Barack Obama has soundly beaten John McCain and it’s clear that Obama’s new media strategy played a big part in this win.

While McCain pulled back from new media and focused his attention on core supporters via old media, Obama got his message out anywhere people were listening. 

 Let’s review some of the top new media contests of this election:

YouTube Presence

When it comes to YouTube, there was no contest: Obama blew away McCain.

Here’s a chart of the top political channels on YouTube:

Obama’s official YouTube channel has received 4 times as many views as McCain’s, 97 million vs 24 million. 

But Obama didn’t just get more views. He’s made much better use of YouTube, populating it with nearly 2,000 videos and attracting over 117,000 subscribers. That’s about 5 times as many videos as McCain, and about 4 times as many subscribers.

By making efficient use of YouTube, Obama beat McCain at getting his message in front of fans of Internet video.

Obama did just as well in the world of podcasting

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13 Responses to “How Barack Obama Beat John McCain With New Media”

  1. […] The Election and New Media Here is a great article. It arguies that Obama’s key to success was his push through new media. […]

  2. taniaelis says:

    I’d agree with most of this, but I don’t know if that’s what won the campaign for Obama.

    Obama just ran a better campaign. McCain was just throwing stuff at the wall frantically, looking for something that would stick.

  3. Sebey says:

    I amost say that for obama the internet was his ulitmate propaganda tool.He didn’t need to make video to promote the internet didn’t for him.look at during these last few months as an example

  4. His use of new media, like all things about his campaign, was masterful. I think you left out the most obvious use, however. Fund raising! He raised a treasury’s worth of money, much of it coming through online requests either via e-mail, on his site, or through the iPhone app you reference.

    Not to mention that he just had a message that resonated more with the electorate, but I realize that was not the angle of your recap.

    Really good summary of a successful, multi-pronged social media/new media approach. And certainly, the stakes could not have been higher. If it worked for the most important job in the world, shouldn’t all companies maybe take a lesson? I’m just sayin’…

  5. Andreas says:

    I hope local business owners read and take to heart the lessons from Baracks integration and use of the social media and community organization (sales &marketing) to achieve his victory. Competency in these social marketing and micro targeting skills has become a sine qua non (unassailable) for business as well as political such.

  6. […] discovered a piece called “How Barack Obama Beat John McCain With New Media,” on Podcasting News. This article was linked to another interesting post on ReadWriteWeb’s […]

  7. Don Dehm says:

    The fact that he was “in touch” with new media and the changing world was a big influence in my thoughts.

  8. Srinivasan says:

    I am from India. I am sure that social media will play a significant role in future to capture the perception of youth. I suggest that Universities should incorporate Social Media also part of their curriculum (just like they teach print media, broadcast media) for the media and communication students. This would help the students to understand the right perception of this media.

  9. Will the President’s Saturday Radio Address be supplanted with a podcast? I hope so.

  10. James Lewin says:

    Jeremy – if he gets it on Apple TV, I just might watch it.

    Wouldn’t it be great if the President would offer a video podcast every week that explained honestly the questions that he was faced with and offered ways that you could voice your opinion?

  11. Ed Roberts says:

    It would have been interesting to see if the election would have happened next year. During the primaries, Ron Paul had a HUGE following through social media. Yet, it failed to give him the Republican nod. Look at the Deomocratic side during the primaries and there was a pretty substantial plus for the Obama camp at that time, yet the race was very close with Clinton. As the year rolled on, the influence of social media started to make a big difference.

    So did it help? Yes, ABSOLUTELY. Can you count out traditional media’s roll. NO WAY. Not yet. Social media’s numbers are not that high yet. Shoot, he only had some 120k followers on Twitter. He won (by popular vote) by over 8 million votes.

    It will be interesting to see how things evolve 4 years from now. Even more… how will social media help break the strangle-hold the two major parties have on traditional media. Could a “third party” be successful enough on the net in 4 years to overcome it?

  12. iPhone Cases says:

    Yeah I don't think it is because of the new age/media that Obama won, but I do believe it played a BIG part, I remember sitting in the stall at the office watching an Obama speech on yourube on my Iphone 😉

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