#DemDebate: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders (and Donald Trump) Drove Social Buzz

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders led #DemDebate social chatter. However, another powerful force on social was nowhere near the stage on Tuesday.

Tuesday night was the first debate for the Democratic candidates for the presidency, and two people in particular led the discussion on social: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders. However, another powerful force on social was nowhere near the stage on Tuesday.

SocialTimes examined the debate on social in three key areas: overall buzz, the candidates and the issues.

Overall buzz

Nielsen’s Twitter data shows that 8.9 million people in the U.S. saw one or more of the 2.8 million tweets sent about the debate on Tuesday. Other notes from Nielsen:

  • In the U.S., Tweets about the TV event were sent by 584,000 people and seen more than 325 million times (Twitter TV Impressions).
  • The most Tweeted minute of the night was at 9:50 p.m. ET, when 33,500 Tweets were sent following Bernie Sanders’ comment about Hilary Clinton’s emails.
  • The top @mentioned candidate of the night was @BernieSanders who was mentioned in 233,200 Tweets around the TV event.

Facebook told SocialTimes that during the debate, 4.2 million U.S. Facebook users made more than 10 million debate-related interactions, such as likes, posts, comments and shares.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 6.12.01 PM

According to Talkwalker, an advanced social analytics company, #DemDebate was mentioned 25.5 million times on Facebook and Twitter combined (from 5 p.m. ET to 5 a.m. ET), and received more than 9,300 engagements.

Synthesio found that 14.2 percent of all mentions of the debate were positive; 12.8 percent of all mentions of the debate were negative.

Spredfast told SocialTimes that the breakdown of people posting about the debate was 64 percent male, 36 percent female.

The candidates

According to Facebook data from Talkwalker, Sanders was the most-talked about candidate on Facebook from 5 a.m. ET to 5 p.m. ET. Here are the full rankings (data provided from Facebook showed identical rankings):

  1. Bernie Sanders
  2. Hillary Clinton
  3. Jim Webb
  4. Martin O’Malley
  5. Lincoln Chafee

Talkwalker compared the activity of Sanders and Clinton on Twitter:

  • @HilaryClinton received 293.8K mentions
  • @HilaryClinton received 228.9K engagements
  • @HilaryClinton had the potential to reach 4.5G users
  • @HilaryClinton gained 13,252 Twitter followers
  • @BernieSanders received 247.8K mentions
  • @BernieSanders received 185.6K engagements
  • @BernieSanders had the potential to reach 4.7G users
  • @BernieSanders gained 35,163 Twitter followers

Here’s a look at most-mentioned Twitter accounts, via Brandwatch:

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 11.57.26 PM_BWSanders also gained the most Facebook fans of any Democratic debater overnight, according to Vocativ, but Republican challenger Donald Trump was actually the biggest gainer in terms of Facebook fan page likes.

However, finding out who was the clear-cut winner on social overall isn’t as easy.

According to Synthesio, Clinton captured 40.3 percent of the online mentions. Sanders was second at 27.7 percent, then Webb at 14.9 percent, O’Malley at 9.4 percent and Chafee at 7.7 percent.

Data from Brandwatch has Sanders far out in front, with more than 407,000 mentions in the 3 hours surrounding the debate.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 11.25.50 PM_BWHowever, just because a candidate is highly-mentioned doesn’t mean that all of those tweets, posts and comments are positive.

Synthesio found that O’Malley actually had the highest percentage of positive sentiment on social, while Clinton had the highest percentage of negative sentiment:

  • Clinton (8.2 percent positive – 10.4 percent negative)
  • Sanders (9.3 percent positive – 10.3 percent negative)
  • Webb (7.6 percent positive – 7.7 percent negative)
  • O’Malley (15 percent positive – 6.2 percent negative)
  • Chafee (14 percent positive – 9.4 percent negative)

In an email to SocialTimes, Clarabridge explained the sentiment change on social for Clinton and Sanders:

Bernie Sanders was received better than Hillary Clinton on social media, receiving a +.03 sentiment score compared to Clinton’s -.02. Though the data did show that Hillary was far more polarizing, as more viewers commented neutrally on Bernie while people had more strong feelings one way or another for Hillary.

But one of the social superstars from Tuesday night’s debate wasn’t even on stage. Trump, the real estate mogul and reality TV star, is powerful on social media.