The results are in and Donald Trump is set to take office as the 45th President of the United States on the 20th of January 2017. The vitriolic election has captured the attention of the entire world and many say its outcome will change the world as we know it.
Some brands have already made waves by attempting to newsjack the election campaign, and web traffic patterns have certainly been affected with the Canadian government’s web page on immigration crashing due to being overloaded with visitors.
mporium IMPACT harnesses the power of TV for mobile search, and it was interesting to note that the way in which people took in the news was directed by television, which in turn generated significant search intent. Here we take a look at a few examples of how TV coverage of the 2016 US election results affected search interest.
The news that Hillary Clinton had finally conceded to Trump after a protracted period of uncertainty regarding the final poll figures in Pennsylvania was announced by many major news outlets at around 7:40am UK time.
Following on from this, thoughts quickly turned to the economy as at 8:36am, Sky News began reporting on the ramifications for the dollar, the peso and the pound with reference to Trump’s claims that he will “…[impose] trade restrictions on Mexico” and announcing that it would be “…looking to markets around the UK and the world, to work out what the permutations and the implications of this election are going to be”.
The BBC and BBC News channel followed suit with a similar report outlining the possible effects:
“On the currency markets, the dollar has weakened while the Mexican peso drops to a record low”.
As a result of this news, search volume for the Dollar, the Peso and the Pound all peaked at exactly 8:38am, just two minutes after the broadcast from Sky News.
Spikes in the searches for “dollar” at 8:38am
Spikes in the Searches for “peso” at 8:38am
Spikes in the searches for “pound” at 8:38am
These spikes in search volume show that it was being heavily influenced by the content shown on television.
Price of Gold
In a similar manner to the rise in search volume around the state of currencies across the world, when BBC News reported on the rising price of gold at 8:41am – even going as far as calling it a “safe haven” – there was a surge in the number of people using the search term “gold price” which peaked just after the report was made.
My Two Pence
The spikes in search activity weren’t just influenced by the financial implications of the Republican Trump’s shocking win, as highlighted by the appearance of his right-hand man, future Vice President Mike Pence. When at 7:44am Sky News reported that Mr Pence would soon be making an appearance at the victory speech, UK-based spikes were seen just after this report, with many Brits wondering who he was.
In a similar vein, the number of searches for French National Front Leader Marine Le Pen rose dramatically after she congratulated Mr Trump on his success, with the spike occurring just after Sky News reported her remarks.
Stranger Than Fiction
In order to properly express their surprise at Trump’s victory, many internet users cast their minds back to an episode of The Simpsons which originally aired over 16 years ago. An off-hand comment referring to “President Trump” was not forgotten by those online, and several media outlets were also quick to pick up on the trend.
This was reflected in the search volume which soared for this rather unusual topic at roughly the time Trump’s win was announced, although it was perhaps in keeping with such bizarre campaigns that the President-elect was ushered in by America’s favourite cartoon family.
As was the case when Trump originally won the primary elections in seven states on Super Tuesday, many Americans turned their attention to the north and began wondering if life might be better in Canada. The spike in the search occurred just after 10:00am, presumably after many citizens had taken a few hours to weigh up their situation.
It is also worth mentioning that the states where the search volume for “move to Canada” was highest were all states claimed by Hillary Clinton.
Some Americans were clearly prepared to venture further afield, as there were also spikes around the same time for search terms relating to Ireland.
As previously mentioned, the rise in traffic even caused the Canadian government’s website to crash as some Americans dreamed of swapping their french fries for poutine.
The crash itself even caused a spike and continued trend in the UK as after BBC News reported at 4:26am that Canada’s immigration website had crashed the search volume for this topic increased exponentially.
“I Am Not A Crook”
For those unhappy with the result, thoughts quickly turned to the future and even the possibility of a future without Trump at the helm. The spike in the search query “how to impeach a president” came around the time that some news outlets began declaring Trump to be victorious.
On a related note, searches relating to the infamously impeached former US President Richard Nixon also spiked around at the same time as a result of those wanting to take a closer look at the history books.
These examples indicate that search volume online is heavily influenced by what people are watching on television. Here it has been highlighted that specific trigger words have led to huge spikes in particular search terms.
The search terms used in the aftermath of the US Presidential Election also show that modern consumers are adept at using a dual-screen method to research topics online that they have just seen on TV. This should reiterate to marketers that search remains an invaluable tool in their arsenal and that the overall intent to search is greater than ever.
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