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New Report from Conductor Shows Romney Struggling to Capture Online Mindshare

April 17, 2012

Conductor, the leader in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technology, today announced the findings of its latest research study, “Election 2012: Does Romney Have a Fighting Chance Against Obama’s Digital Dominance?” The report takes an in-depth look at how Mitt Romney is fairing online, compared to the other Republican candidates and to the Obama Campaign. Recent studies show more than 80 percent of Americans turn to the Internet to gather information about candidates, making it a critical channel for developing candidate awareness, raising money and building a community of devoted followers.

Conductor Political Infographic

As the Obama Campaign demonstrated in 2008, a well-orchestrated online campaign is a powerful instrument in message dissemination and the galvanizing of the public to get out and vote. As online newspapers, blogs and social media properties have become the primary source for information, candidates must first win the digital constituency on Google, Facebook and Twitter to ultimately win the White House. The results of the Conductor Election 2012 report shows the Republican nominee that ultimately faces Obama in the general election has a steep hill to climb in the online race.

Using Conductor Searchlight™ the leading enterprise SEO platform, the Election 2012 report looked at online search trends in the primary race during the month of March. The research examined keywords used by the public to search for candidates and election issues; the frequency of candidate searches; the volume of online news generated by candidates; and the candidate’s ability to control the quality of the message appearing on traditional online news sources and in the social sphere. Key takeaways include:

  • Obama spends twice as much on Google advertising, has eight times more Facebook likes and five times more Twitter followers than all of the Republican candidates – Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul – combined.
  • Mitt Romney has done the best job of the Republican candidates in controlling the online message.  Romney’s official website appeared on page one of the search results for online searches about him almost half of the time – more often than the other candidates.  Romney also boasts several times the Facebook “Likes” of the other candidates.
  • Although he recently dropped out of the race, Rick Santorum provokes more Google searches (51 percent more searches than Romney and 79 more than Gingrich) and received the largest share of online news coverage in March at 35 percent.

In the critical battle for online messaging, Obama holds a significant head-start with the online tailwind of the 2008 election at his back. The foundation laid in 2008 is paying dividends in the Obama re-election campaign. He appears on page one of the search results 55 percent of the time, almost 10 percent more often than Romney, and is spending more than double what the Republican candidates do on search advertising.

“Campaign marketers on both side of party lines need to be cautious about tossing money at paid search as a means of quick return,” said Nathan Safran, Director of Research at Conductor and the author of the Election 2012 report. “While we aren’t political advisors, we do work with thousands of leading brands to deploy and measure their online presence and we know that a well executed organic search program yields far greater return when it comes to increasing search engine visibility, controlling and monitoring online messages and driving site traffic.”

To view the complete, Election 2012 research report, visit: