clinton-and-trumpHeadphones in and Pandora on I walk from my off-campus house, to my morning class. Another ad interrupts Dr. Dog. The announcer tells me to “make my voice heard by voting November 8th.”

Using next week’s election and my birthday that I provided when I signed up, Pandora just displayed their sought-after demographic targeting strategies. Especially during a race like this year’s, candidates are constantly seeking effective ways to promote themselves. For their services, Pandora charges upwards of $25 for every 1,000 people that view or hear an ad.

Shortly after the band finishes singing, another ad plays. This time promoting a specific candidate – Clinton. Clinton’s campaign has spent over $100 million on paid media ads and thousands on Pandora alone.

In 2011 Pandora switched to a music-streaming social network site. Initially used as an escape from reality, social networking sites have now become fair game in this election cycle. Using networks such as Facebook and Twitter, both candidates fill news-feeds with their promotional messages. Although the outlets used may be the same, the candidates’ strategies are worlds apart.

Unlike his competition, Trump has taken a more economically-sound route – only spending a few million dollars on ads. Instead, most of his campaign has taken to Twitter and Facebook – both public and both free. With this approach, he is at the mercy of his followers to re-tweet, share, and like his latest status – or “campaign ad.” The majority of his tweets link to various articles and explain upcoming events, while slipping in an extra, personalized 140-character message every so often. In addition, he recently announced his newest, free media idea – a late night news show. The usual tens of millions of dollars spent producing a late-night show can now be saved as Trump airs his program through the use of Facebook Live.

On the other side of the spectrum, Clinton’s campaign strategy focuses more on paid media such as commercials. Hence her strong TV presence. However, she still maintains active Twitter and Facebook accounts. Clinton’s Twitter is filled with typed out quotes and questions. The original tweets are balanced out by article links and references to her website.

What makes this election so fascinating is the candidates’ and voters’ reliance on social networks. Over half of people between the ages of 18 and 29 ranked social media as their number one medium to follow the election. As the election winds-down, the social network campaigns are revving up. Fearing the election may come down to 140-characters, the candidates are making every stroke count.

Stay tuned…

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