A couple of weeks ago, I pointed out that five out of the six top YouTube videos about the 2016 U.S. presidential election had been created by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live. But video marketers know that “views” isn’t the only measure of success on YouTube.

In fact, a survey by Mixpro last April found that advertising executives think “engagement with interactive elements”, “shares”, “conversions”, and “total time spent watching videos” are more important metrics for measuring the success of social video ads than “views”. So, with those metrics in mind - which presidential campaign channels have the most engagements?

With Iowa about to hold the first caucuses in the nation on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, and New Hampshire about to hold the first primary in the nation on Tuesday, Feb. 9, this isn’t an academic question. Now, I was prepared to do a lot of manual labor to dig out all of this critical data. But, fortunately, I have an ally. Her name is Lindsay Lamont, and she is the Lead Strategist at Tubular Labs. And she put together half a dozen PowerPoint slides that most presidential campaign managers and savvy political journalists would love to get their hands on. But, ReelSEO’s readers get to see them first.

Clinton and Sanders: Neck and Neck

In the Democratic contest, Hillary Clinton has a comfortable lead over Bernie Sanders – if you use “views” as a metric. Clinton’s videos got a total of 177 million views from July 1, 2015, to Jan. 10, 2016, while videos for Sanders got a total of 91.8 million views over the same period.

Which U.S. Presidential Video Campaigns Are Actually Engaging Viewers? Tubular 2016 Presidential campaign 1 750x417

But, if you look at “engagements”, then the race is neck-and-neck. Clinton’s videos and videos for Sanders both received a total of 4.6 million engagements from July 1, 2015, to Jan. 10, 2016. And engagements with videos for Sanders passed engagements with Clinton’s videos in last month.

Which U.S. Presidential Video Campaigns Are Actually Engaging Viewers? Tubular 2016 Presidential campaign 2 750x419

Republicans: Trump Takes the Lead

Meanwhile, in the Republican contest, Donald Trump has a huge lead over Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Chris Christie – if you use “views” as a metric. Trump’s videos got a total of 502 million views from July 1, 2015, to Jan. 10, 2016, while videos for Carson got 72.8 million views, Cruz got 50.7 million views, Rubio got 25.8 million views, and Christie got 21.7 million views over the same period.

Which U.S. Presidential Video Campaigns Are Actually Engaging Viewers? Tubular 2016 Presidential campaign 3 750x428

But, if you look at “engagements”, then the race gets a little tighter. Trump’s videos got a total of 14.5 million engagements from July 1, 2015, to Jan. 10, 2016, while videos for Carson got 2.6 million engagements, Cruz got 2.1 million engagements, Rubio got 844,000 engagements, and Christie got 604,000 engagements over the same period.

Which U.S. Presidential Video Campaigns Are Actually Engaging Viewers? Tubular 2016 Presidential campaign 4 750x409

If you take Trump out of the picture, then you can see who may emerge as the #2 candidate for the Republican nomination. From early September through the middle of November 2015, it looked like Carson “coulda been a contender” – based on “views” of his campaign’s videos. But he was passed in December by Cruz.

Which U.S. Presidential Video Campaigns Are Actually Engaging Viewers? Tubular 2016 Presidential campaign 5 750x411

A similar picture emerges when look at “engagements”.

Which U.S. Presidential Video Campaigns Are Actually Engaging Viewers? Tubular 2016 Presidential campaign 6 750x407

Now, there are some obvious caveats about these trends. First, they are national. The trends in Iowa or New Hampshire could be different. Second, online video isn’t the only content that people watch during a presidential campaign.

Nevertheless, more than 72% of online adults use video-sharing sites like YouTube, according to the Pew Research Center. So, winning on the leading video platforms could play as important a role as winning the innumerable debates on TV. So, this is an ongoing news story that we’ll be covering again and again until Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.