Online ad spending in political campaigns is predicted to rise to $1.06 billion in 2016.

Which made us wonder, how much is this rise represented in digital media campaigns and the adoption of marketing tools among high-profile presidential candidates?

For clues, we decided to look at how candidates used digital marketing and advertising tools by analyzing pixel placements on the main campaign website of each of the 10 major presidential candidates.

How We Did Our Analysis

We accessed this data with Datanyze, a tool that detects publicly available javascript code and defines the third-party digital technology embedded in webpages.

The tool is limited, however. It can only detect what code happens to be placed on a web page, at the time of the analysis; March 1. This means that we can say for certain that the following candidates have installed these tools, but we can’t say that candidates who don’t seem to be using particular tools, aren’t.

With that said, here are our findings.

Facebook is the Only Universally Installed Retargeting Pixel—Google AdWords is the Most Widely Used Ad Technology

Presidential candidate advertising tech advertising pixels

We found seven of the 10 presidential candidates with retargeting pixels on their website. Of those, all are retargeting on Facebook. This seems to mirror findings of predictive reports on an enormous growth in spending on Facebook advertising on the part of political campaigns.

Google advertising pixels were found on six of nine presidential campaigns. Pixels from social media platforms Twitter and LinkedIn, were close behind, on four, and two, respectively.  

Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Used 7 Ad Networks, Democrats Favor LinkedIn Presidential Candidate Ad Usage

Aside from third-party candidates, where no advertising pixels were found, most candidates used multiple ad networks. Hillary Clinton used the most, at seven, followed by Bernie Sanders, at five. Additionally, only Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were found to use LinkedIn’s ad inventory.

So Far, Only Republican Campaigns Have Been Found to Use Video Advertising

Presidential candidate marketing and advertising tech video

Only three candidates had video advertising pixels installed. Interestingly, all were Republicans.

Why? We’re not sure, but communications research has shown that liberals and conservatives prefer different kinds of media and communication aesthetics, which may partially explain the gulf.  

Every Candidate Uses Gmail…Well, Almost

Most candidates were represented using Google’s uber-popular email service, Gmail, with the exception of Donald Trump. It’s unclear to us why Trump prefers Rackspace (If you have any insight, let us know in the comments).

Marketing Automation Usage Appears Limited; Candidates Use a Variety of Email Marketing Technology

Presidential Candidate Marketing and Advertising Tech

Presidential candidates seem to use a diverse ranging of email marketing platforms. No more than three candidates use a single tool.

Marketing Automation Usage Seems Limited

While we can’t make definitive statements based on our limited information, we found surprisingly few candidates make use of marketing automation technology. So far, marketing automation pixels have only been found on the campaign site belonging to Ted Cruz.

Marketing and advertising services have grown leaps and bounds in complexity and adoption. Candidates, regardless of their funding or political orientation, are using a variety of sophisticated marketing technology. This parallels the trend we’re seeing in marketing—marketers are using multiple tools to solve individual problems effectively, rather than a single, holistic marketing platform to address every need.

Want to learn more about the intersection of digital marketing and politics? Sign up for our webinar with Will Bunnett, a political brand strategist who has worked with Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and the California Democratic Party.