Men Trump Women As Ad Targets In 2016

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, May 11, 2016

Despite Hillary Clinton’s efforts to break the presidential ceiling for women, Trump’s social-media prowess appears to be turning gender marketing rules upside down.

Typically, women are more likely to discover and share news content. According to a recent study by the American Press Institute, women generally hold an edge over men in interacting with content on social media (49% vs. 39%) and also sharing news (50% vs. 41%).

However, based on recent evidence and analysis, the male demographic is interacting with new types of content as a result of the political landscape, having much to do with the 2016 presidential race and the spectacle of Donald Trump’s social media accounts.

Zeynep Tufekci, an assistant professor at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, and a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, pointed out in a recent op-ed that Trump’s success is actually “a symptom of the mass media’s growing weakness, especially in controlling the limits of what it is acceptable to say.”

As a result, Trump’s presence in the race has also disrupted the traditional audience dynamics by either attracting men or repelling women. Taking a closer look at social data could be helpful to brands and marketers thinking about social marketing strategies in the run-up to November’s election.

A study by social analytics firm, Captiv8, which analyzed each candidate’s social media accounts, sheds light on why men are consuming more online content. Its co-founder, Krishna Subramanian explains: "Trump and Sen. Sanders each have a stronger male Instagram following at 62% and 63% male. respectively…People find Trump’s comments offensive, and males are more tolerant of the messaging he puts out there.”

It’s clear that more men are interacting with political content.

Corresponding with Trump’s rise to the front of the GOP pack, there has been a significant shift in the ratio of male to female viewership, which has recently flipped to a substantially higher male skew around politically-themed or relevant content.

The general rule is that my company’s politically-oriented content is female - 60% female versus 40% male. Since October 2015, we’ve seen a significant shift in this segment, which first leveled out to an even 50-50 in January, then flipping on its skew with males now dominating with a 58% male versus 42% female viewership.

Over half of these readers  are between the ages of 25-44.

Upon closer examination of the News, Politics, Campaigns & Elections categories that comprise politically themed content across the Mode network, we could determine exactly what type of content is catching the male eye.

Stories around political humor/sarcasm -- “Who Said It: Kanye West or Donald Trump” or “The Top 16 Times GOP Candidates Made Up Their Own Science,” found audiences actively interested in the current elections.

But will Citizen Trump’s ascension, as Hillary closes in on the Democratic nomination, last through November? His success with fiery gender rhetoric and schoolyard name-calling has continued to show the failure of conventional political wisdom in 2016.

Based on recent social media analysis, the “Trump effect” should influence how brand marketers tailor campaigns right now, during the summer months and into November.

Marketers must also be aware of Hillary Clinton’s growing social network clout, appeal to women across generations and Trump’s unfavorables among female voters. It’s likely that more women will begin influencing the social media discourse once we enter into the general election contest.

Marketers must also take into account the potential shift from men back to women as the election’s narrative evolves, with the first female presidential nominee from either party.

The 2016 presidential contest hardly evokes the ghosts of Lincoln-Douglas or Kennedy-Nixon, but it has been ripe with controversy from an outlier candidate.

At the center, of course, is a real estate mogul, turned reality star, turned GOP front-runner who has become the most polarizing public figure in recent memory. This has changed the political dynamic in the GOP and shifted social-media marketing demographics.

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