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5 Findings From The Most Shared Videos Of The US Presidential Election

It’s almost here. Election day in the U.S. of A. After more than a year-and-a-half of one of the most controversial and divided campaigns the US has seen in decades, Americans from coast to coast will be casting their ballot tomorrow.

While the world awaits the final results, here at Unruly we’ve been busy dissecting how the candidates have been connecting with their audiences online. We tracked the most shared videos from the candidates to see which videos and trends are rising to the top of the polls.

Here’s what we found: 


1. Raw Content Resonates with Viewers

In an election where the two candidates are considered the least likeable politicians we’ve seen in recent history, it may not be surprising that the most shared video is one that doesn’t feature either candidate!

The top video is a campaign clip from Michelle Obama, and it plays into another major trend we’re seeing this election season, with viewers gravitating toward video materials that aren’t overly edited. Our data shows that live content has by far the highest share rate (12.5%), followed by unedited clips (5.6%) and finally ads (2.9%).



2. Clinton Ads Dominate The List

Eight out of the top 10 videos on the chart come from the Clinton campaign. In fact, 90% of views and shares were from Clinton’s channels. And if you looked at just ads and left out campaign speeches, the top ten most shared list is exclusively Clinton ads. 

This could be down to the fact that the Clinton campaign has been the more organised of the two and has not been able to rely on the sheer amount of earned media the Trump campaign has generated.

But when we tested Clinton’s “Fighting For You” ad versus Trump’s “Make America Great Again” video using Unruly EQ we found the positive emotions evoked by Clinton’s campaign were more likely to get people to want to talk about her campaign or recommend their friends to vote for her. This positive association is likely a reason why Clinton’s ads were shared more widely than Trump’s.


3. Facebook Live Gained Momentum

One major trend in video that we’re seeing this year is the huge rise in usage of Facebook Live. But it’s not just for Chewbacca Moms. Of the top 200 videos we tracked, 25% were Facebook Live, often showing full coverage of speeches and rallies.

In fact, all of the Trump videos which appeared in the top 200 were Facebook Live, except for one ad which showed clips of Barack Obama criticising Hillary.



4. Viewers Are Willing to Share Longer Videos

Unruly has long said that when it comes to video sharing, the length of the ads doesn’t matter as much as the emotions a video evokes in the viewer. This election season is no exception.

The average run time for the top 200 ads we tracked was 6 minutes and 38 seconds. Many of the videos on the list are longer campaign speeches. The top most shared video on the list is an almost 30 minute video from First Lady Michelle Obama addressing an audience in New Hampshire. In this video, she juxtaposes her work with the organisation Let Girls Learn with Trump’s behaviour and recent sexual assault allegations.

Her emotional speech resonated with viewers because it brought viewers on a rollercoaster of emotions, including inspiration, sadness, pride, excitement, warmth and disgust – all in one speech!  


5. More Than Half of Ads Were Negative in Tone

Just over half (56%) of ads were negative – directly attacking Donald Trump – while 44% of ads focused on Hillary’s policies in a positive way. The negative content appeared to attract more than its fair share of attention, with 66% of views and 63% of shares. However, the overall share rate for positive content was higher, at 3.1% vs 2.7%.


Here are the 10 most shared US Election videos: 

  1. Hillary Clinton – Michelle Obama speech New Hampshire 817,737 shares
  2. Hillary Clinton – Mirrors – 555,918 shares
  3. Hillary Clinton – Clear Difference – 505,020 shares
  4. Donald J. Trump – FB Live Trump speech Kinston – 494,716 shares
  5. Hillary Clinton – Alicia Machado – 441,042 shares
  6. Hillary Clinton – Role Models – 396,957 shares
  7. Hillary Clinton – Hillary speech denouncing Trump racism – 372,337 shares
  8. Hillary Clinton – Barack Obama endorsing Hillary – 366,120 shares
  9. Hillary Clinton – What Trump would do as president – 346,108 shares
  10. Donald J. Trump – FB Live Trump speech St Augustine – 326,306 shares



We tracked views and shares from 3,649 Facebook and YouTube videos from the official YouTube and Facebook channels of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Tim Kaine, Mike Pence, the DNC, the RNC as well as the top 3 pro-candidate Super PACs and top anti-candidate super PACs on each side.