Weekly unique visitors to Obama’s website (graphed below) quickly rose from 540,000 at the start of August to an interim peak of 2.5 million during the week of the Democratic National Convention. The race narrowed online the following week as attention shifted to the Republicans (Sarah Palin in particular.) After the dust from the conventions settled, Obama’s traffic continued to soar, fueling his record $150 million in campaign contributions in September. Obama’s traffic later eclipsed his convention-fueled spike three weeks before Election Day.
McCain’s traffic also rose in the lead up to November 4th, but his growth was relatively modest compared to Obama’s. One reason for this was that McCain, unlike Obama, kept his promise to accept public campaign financing. As a result, McCain received a one-time cash infusion from the Federal Government but was then prevented, in the general election from soliciting contributions from voters. McCain’s traffic peaked after Palin was added to the ticket in late August, but never again reached that level throughout the remainder of the race.
The above graph also plots the weekly ratio of Obama visitors to McCain visitors. During the final eight weeks of the race, Obama’s site traffic averaged 2.2 times greater than that of his GOP rival.
As VP of Millward Brown Digital’s financial services, retail and consumer products practices, Matt is responsible for vertical growth and strategy and the delivery of digital insights and best practice marketing consulting to leading Fortune 500 advertisers. Follow Matt on Twitter @mattpace.