Trump: The Ultimate Online Disruptor
Around the office in our geeky agency microcosm, we often use the term “noise” to refer to the endless barrage of peripheral content that clutters users’ daily experience online. Increased online “noise” comes at times of widespread celebration and crisis. Think about your news feed on “National Puppy Day” or the ladder, the day after the Orlando Shootings. These are days when user content is unusually homogenous and our collective online soul is fixed in one place. Wherever that “noise” is coming from is referred to as a “disruptor,” as it is something that interrupts and derails the natural day-to-day flow of online user and consumer behavior.
If you Google “Trump’s effect,” over 55 million results will be returned including articles on immigration, education and a Wikipedia link to the coined term Trump Effect, based on a report done by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Whether you see him as friend or foe, the impact of the United State’s new President is undeniable. He is a game changer. A wild card. He is The Ultimate Online Disruptor. And we think it is going to change how brands garner the attention of consumers on social media.
Unlike holidays and events that capture the collective mind for a week or two, Donald J. Trump’s term is scheduled for 4 years. Furthermore, unlike previous Presidents who served during the era of social media (George W. Bush and Barack Obama), Trump has chosen to use Twitter as his primary way to communicate directly with the American public. This, combined with social media algorithms that place emphasis on trending and timely posts, is changing what Americans see on social media and how they are engaging with social media platforms. Finally, the rate of controversial news churning from the Trump White House is unlike anything we have seen in the past.
Where’s the Proof?
It was widely discussed that social media played a role in the 2016 Presidential election (ahem, fake news and fundraising), but what is not up for debate is the unprecedented budget the Trump campaign put towards what RNC Advertising Director, Gary Coby, described as “A/B testing on steroids” on Facebook. With over 50,000 ads constantly running and being optimized for the best performing messaging, call-to-action and imagery, the Trump campaign dominated the online landscape. That, combined with his non-traditional direct communication with social media users, are factors that lead to his win.
In terms of data supporting the theory that Trump will create a constant stream of “online noise” so loud that it will change the landscape of social media consumer behavior, the numbers are still out. However, the anecdotal support is there. Just scroll through your Facebook feed – how many posts are about Trump-related updates? Half? More than half? You are not alone. OffLeash Communications also saw some notable changes to our clients’ audience engagement directly after the November 8th election, and subsequent January 20th inauguration. Stay tuned as we continue to track this data and flush out our theory that Trump is indeed The Ultimate Online Disruptor and, more importantly, how to overcome changing consumer behavior on social media.
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