How Snapchat Wants to Win the 2016 Election

How Snapchat Wants to Win the 2016 Election

By Millie Dent

Snapchat is getting a lot of attention for its presidential ambitions.

In an effort to both appeal to the youth vote and bolster its events coverage built on a growing volume of video posted by its users, the app recently posted a job opening for a Content Analyst in Politics & News.

The new hire will curate photos and videos for the app’s “Our Story” curated events coverage of the presidential race and other news events. That stories feature has already proven to be a massive success. On average, Snapchat’s Our Stories draws around 20 million people in a 24-hour window, director of partnerships at Snapchat, Ben Schwerin, told Re/code. The three-day story in April about Coachella, the music festival, generated 40 million unique visitors.

Political events might not be draws on that same scale, but Snapchat apparently believes its massive influence with younger Americans could attract millions millennials to engage in the political process at a time when voter turnout is at its lowest levels since World War II. In the 2012 mid-term election, the national turnout rate was 35.9 percent. Of that, only 13 percent were between the ages of 18 and 29.

Related: Can ‘Project Lightning’ Give Twitter a Fresh Jolt?

Boasting more than 100 million daily users, Snapchat is valued at $16 billion — giving it the reach and the financial clout to become a force in 2016 campaign coverage. About 60 percent of U.S. smartphone users aged between 13 and 24 have used the app, according to The Financial Times. The largest demographic of users is between the ages of 18 and 24 (45 percent), followed by those between 25 and 34 (26 percent).

To capitalize on that user base, Snapchat recently hired former CNN political reporter Peter Hamby to oversee its expanding news team. Snapchat wants to promote content from debates, rallies, appearances and other election events and allow users to follow along. But this isn’t purely an experiment in civic participation. Candidates can pay for political ads to appear on the social media app.

The social media app has an ace up its sleeve to incentivize candidates to purchase ads. The app already has age-gating technology and a form of geographic targeting. Originally put into place to make sure underage kids wouldn’t see alcohol ads, the age gate could be used to reach only voting-age users. The geographic targeting allows Our Stories to only be viewable by people in the same city or area, so politicians could target specific areas, especially ones in a tight race.

Snapchat, best known as the service that allows users to send disappearing photos, claims that ads inserted into “Our Stories” have an advantage over other social media advertisements because they leave more lasting impressions.

If campaigns buy into that and turn to Snapchat as a way to connect with a hard-to-reach demographic, the social media company could be the big winner in the 2016 election.

Chart of the Day: Boosting Corporate Tax Revenues

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have all proposed increasing taxes on corporations, including raising income tax rates to levels ranging from 25% to 35%, up from the current 21% imposed by the Republican tax cuts in 2017. With Bernie Sanders leading the way at $3.9 trillion, here’s how much revenue the higher proposed corporate taxes, along with additional proposed surtaxes and reduced tax breaks, would generate over a decade, according to calculations by the right-leaning Tax Foundation, highlighted Wednesday by Bloomberg News.

Chart of the Day: Discretionary Spending Droops

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The federal government’s total non-defense discretionary spending – which covers everything from education and national parks to veterans’ medical care and low-income housing assistance – equals 3.2% of GDP in 2020, near historic lows going back to 1962, according to an analysis this week from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Chart of the Week: Trump Adds $4.7 Trillion in Debt

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated this week that President Trump has now signed legislation that will add a total of $4.7 trillion to the national debt between 2017 and 2029. Tax cuts and spending increases account for similar portions of the projected increase, though if the individual tax cuts in the 2017 Republican overhaul are extended beyond their current expiration date at the end of 2025, they would add another $1 trillion in debt through 2029.

Chart of the Day: The Long Decline in Interest Rates

Wall Street slips, Dow posts biggest weekly loss of 2013
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Are interest rates destined to move higher, increasing the cost of private and public debt? While many experts believe that higher rates are all but inevitable, historian Paul Schmelzing argues that today’s low-interest environment is consistent with a long-term trend stretching back 600 years.

The chart “shows a clear historical downtrend, with rates falling about 1% every 60 years to near zero today,” says Bloomberg’s Aaron Brown. “Rates do tend to revert to a mean, but that mean seems to be declining.”

Chart of the Day: Drug Price Plans Compared

By The Fiscal Times Staff

Lawmakers are considering three separate bills that are intended to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Here’s an overview of the proposals, from a series of charts produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation this week. An interesting detail highlighted in another chart: 88% of voters – including 92% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans – want to give the government the power to negotiate prices with drug companies.