Clinton v. Trump: Who’s Winning the Twitter War?

Depends on how you define win.

A lot has been said about winning the Twitter war in the 2016 election. Trump has more followers. Trump has more retweets. But what about Clinton? Earlier this summer, my company and I began to explore the topic by analyzing the backgrounds of the millions of people following Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Twitter and matched them to our Stirista voter database.
 
Although we found some differences among the followers, we wanted to learn more about their influence on social media. We also wanted to learn whether Donald Trump’s lead in Twitter followers translates to more influence on social media.
 
After examining the users’ Klout Scores and Twitter activities, Stirista found that Hillary Clinton and her followers are more influential on social media. To learn more about social media influence in the 2016 election, we first analyzed the Twitter activity for the candidates’ followers. We then looked at the Klout Scores for the candidates’ and their followers.

It’s no secret that Trump has almost 3 million more followers than Clinton.
The 2016 Twiplomacy study had Trump at 175 and Clinton at 275th, thereby Trump leading in followers and engagement. According to analysis from the World Economic Forum, “Trump would seem to outperform Clinton, since his tweets have been retweeted a total of 12 million times — twice as many as Clinton’s, which have been retweeted 5.5 million times.”

We didn’t see a lot of difference in the activity of the followers themselves, but a few areas are worth noting. While followers of both tweet at about the same rate and at equal measure in 2016, Trump had 4% more followers join Twitter in 2016, while Clinton had nearly 6% more join in 2015. While both candidates’ followers have a similar number of users following them with 10–49 followers representing the greatest percentage (31.32% for Clinton and 32.55% for Trump). Those with more than 500+ followers was led by Clinton with 7.8%, one percent higher than Trump’s 6.8%.
 
As a result, we looked at Klout scores. Klout uses analytics to rate users’ accumulated influence across their other social media accounts, on a scale of 1–100. Looking at Klout Scores was useful in that it helped us look at influence from a holistic approach, and includes data from eight social media networks. Rather than only looking at the number of retweets or shares, the Klout Score looks at reactions on the individual level. For example, when highly selective users share content, they have a greater effect on the poster’s influence than users who share lots of content. We determined the average Klout Score for the candidates’ Twitter followers by matching them to the Klout Scores in our database. Although our Klout Scores do not necessarily represent the entire dataset, they do support what is observed when looking at the candidates’ individual Klout Scores.

So what did we find out? Hillary Clinton’s followers have an average score of 23, and Donald Trump followers have an average score of 20, meaning that Clinton followers are somewhat more influential on social media.
What was more interesting was when we looked at the greater difference between the Klout scores of the candidates themselves. Donald Trump has a Klout Score of 89, while Hillary Clinton has a Klout Score of 95. Despite having significantly fewer followers on Twitter, Hillary Clinton is more influential on social media as a whole.
 
Klout describes influence as not so much how much someone talks, but about how many people listen and respond. Our analysis reinforces that point. Donald Trump may talk to more people, but Hillary Clinton drives more people to listen and respond.