YouTube: 2016 presidential election-related video watch time up 485% since last April

YouTube's latest trends report tracks watch time for election-related videos as well as which campaign issues are getting the most attention.

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YouTube says the amount of time spent watching 2016 presidential election-related video content has increased 485 percent since last April.

Of the time spent watching candidates and issues-related videos, nearly 50 percent is happening on mobile, driving mobile watch time for politically charged videos 548 percent between April 2015 and February 2016.

According to YouTube’s 2016 Presidential Elections trends report, more than 110 million hours has been spent watching election-related video content on the site.

[blockquote cite = “YouTube 2016 Presidential Elections Trends Report”]Over 110 million hours of candidates and issues-related content has been watched on YouTube — that’s estimated to be on the equivalent of watching over 100 times every piece of content ever aired on CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC and Fox News.[/blockquote]

YouTube’s data found that 59 percent of the people watching election-related videos are 18 to 34 years old, representing the largest audience of viewers. Twenty-six percent are 45 years or older.

Political Video Consumption by Age

youtube 2016 election trends report age

YouTube also ranked which political issues per candidate were getting the most watch time, and found immigration was the top issue for five of the six candidates — John Kasich was an exception.

Candidates’ Top Issues on YouTube

youtube 2016 election trends report issues by candidate

Candidates’ ad spend on YouTube has also skyrocketed. Between October 2015 and February 2016, there’s been a 294-percent increase in paid views for candidate ads, accounting for 77 percent of their total paid views to date.

YouTube said it “essentially sold out” of its reserve ad inventory prior to the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada primaries.

Tracking video consumption on the day before the Iowa caucuses to the following day, YouTube says the campaign event drove a 363-percent increase in caucus-related questions on the site, with the top questions ranging from “How a caucus works” to “When will Iowa caucus results be available?”

Same-sex marriage legalization was another politically charged issue that drove video watch time. “The week after same-sex marriage was legalized (Friday, June 26 to Thursday, July 2), watch time for related videos was 24x the average of the three weeks prior,” says YouTube.

YouTube says the Democratic presidential candidates’ debates drove a 77-percent increase in candidate-related video watch time, while the Republican debates drove a 51-percent increase.

More data from YouTube’s 2016 presidential election trends can be found on the Think with Google blog.

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About the author

Amy Gesenhues
Amy Gesenhues was a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

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