Who’s the Better Marketer: Trump or Hillary?


During this presidential race, $1.2 billion will be spent on digital marketing leading up to Election Day. Each candidate’s search engine and email marketing strategies are vital to the success of their campaign. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have vastly different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their marketing strategies. Because of this, it’s hard to say which presidential candidate has the better approach — for now, at least.

Search Engine Keyword Strategy

This year’s race has been different than those in the past because of the rise in earned media exposure. Given his controversial nature, Trump is a frequent conversation topic with media outlets, which provides him with additional coverage at no cost.

Trump has an estimated organic traffic value of $4.4 million per month, which is double Hillary’s at $2.2 million. Although Hillary has more organic keywords at 25.9k, the search volume of Trump’s 18.1k is higher. In terms of the types of keywords — Hillary’s top search terms, both paid and organic, are branded. This is also the case for Trump, with the exception of the paid keyword “Hillary Clinton email.”



Email Marketing Tactics

There’s truth in the phrase “size matters.” The size of a presidential candidate’s subscriber list is influential in campaign fundraising, driving word-of-mouth, and encouraging supporters to vote when the election nears. Some even believe the number of email subscribers presidential candidates have can predict the outcome of the presidential election. To cite one example, Obama had an email audience  5 times larger than Romney in the 2012 presidential election.

However, not all lists are created equal. Occasionally, presidential candidates acquire lists and send non-permission based emails. This isn’t any sender’s best interest, particularly a presidential candidate’s. Trump opted to email a cold list, which drove only 12% of recipients to open his first fundraising email. His email list is also suspected to be full of people who never opted-in, which can explain his low open rates.

Applying email marketing best practices is arguably more important than the number of subscribers on your email list. 60% of the emails sent by Trump in his first fundraising email campaign landed in the spam folder. A huge chunk of his list didn’t even receive his message, and on top of that, a high bounce rate harms sender reputation and future deliverability. Email lists are worthless if you’re unable to reach the inboxes of your subscribers.

In contrast, Hillary’s team tests innovative segmentation techniques that allow her to higher open rates than Trump. In the month of May, Hillary sent out 658 different email variations through utilizing segmentation while Trump only sent out 21 variations.

Below we’ve compiled stats on how each of the nominees stack up:



So… Who Does It Better?

Digital marketing is greatly influential in presidential campaigns and can often be a make-or-break for securing the White House. Hillary and Trump are approaching the election with reliance on different marketing tactics.

In light of her email “scandal,” Hillary is crushing email marketing. As for Trump? Not so much, because of poor deliverability and engagement. Email marketing is an extremely important aspect to presidential candidates because it is where most donations come from, it’s cheap, and it’s able to influence voting decisions.

Trump will need to invest in an email marketing strategy to even attempt to get close to Hillary’s level.

When it comes to SEO, Trump is the one doing it well. He has an estimated organic traffic value of $4.4 million per month, which is double Hillary’s at $2.2 million. Online search presence is arguably just as important as an email marketing strategy when it comes to the presidential elections. Email drives the majority of Hillary’s donations, while donations to Trump’s campaign primarily come in through his website.

Ultimately, only time will tell whose marketing strategies truly won.


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