HillaryClinton.com’s New ‘BuzzFeed-esque’ Timeline Takes a Hammer to Trump’s Past

While lauding her last four decades

On Oct. 19, when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump meet for the third and final presidential debate, rest assured that Clinton will verbally direct the millions of viewers to "go to HillaryClinton.com." She's done it during the first two debates, after all. 

But next time, visitors to the site will be greeted by a timeline-style feature called Shuffle, which gives 35 examples of something Clinton did in a given year versus something Trump did that same year. The first page of Shuffle, which was implemented this week by the Clinton campaign, states: "The making of Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump."

Unsurprisingly, the side-by-side comparisons are much kinder to Clinton than to Trump. It's her website, of course. 

The move appears to be an answer to one of Trump's favorite attempts at an anti-Hillary zinger: "What has she been doing for the last 25 years?" Digital marketers are lauding her camp's responsive tactic, which could be described as part Wikipedia, part trivia-based video game. 

"Hillary Clinton is redefining her narrative through her website," said marketing consultant David Deal. "She's answering bluster and sound bites with facts and insights that create visitor engagement on her website. She is challenging voters to become informed. Her website sets a new standard for engaging voters instead of shouting at them."

Jordan Cohen, CMO at Fluent, which has worked on Republican and Democratic digital campaigns, praised the Clinton outfit for employing a "'BuzzFeed-esque' style and approach to its presentation and dissemination of information that appeals to the way that younger and more mobile web users like to consume 'snackable' content and media on the fly."

Generally speaking, Cohen called Clinton's campaign the most sophisticated "of all time from a digital and data-driven marketing perspective."

Eric Franchi, co-founder and svp of business development at ad-tech player Undertone, said the Shuffle feature was "bar raising."

Marie Danzig is the head of creative and delivery at Blue State Digital and was deputy digital director of the 2012 Obama campaign. (GOP-dedicated strategists declined to comment for this story.) Danzig mentioned that "it hasn't always been a priority for a candidate to say the URL out loud up at the podium. In the past, it's been relegated to rally signage or didn't get any mention at all." 

So good, attentive U.S. citizens, you can count on hearing "HillaryClinton.com" a few more times in the next week or so. It would be interesting to learn what the site's time-spent stats will look like in a before-versus-after-Shuffle perspective. 

"The challenge for any candidate today, in a world that gets most of its news via social, is creating a site that gives the user a reason to visit—and stick around," Franchi explained. "The latter is extremely important since more time on site means more opportunity to reinforce or change opinions, not to mention encourage donations."

To his point, before beginning the rapid-fire feature, an interstitial ad asks for money. So, hopefully, the Clinton camp divulges how Shuffle impacted time spent and dollars coming in the door after this verbal blood sport of an election draws to a close on Nov. 8.