Quantifying Trump’s share of attention

Trump’s circle of influence drives more than half of social sharing of coverage from leading media sources.

Source: Kaleida Data, January 2017

There have been many attempts to profit from attention economics through digital channels and platforms. But a systematic approach to owning and controlling it has been elusive.

And then Donald Trump happened.

We can see Trump’s impact at Kaleida because we are mapping the flow of subjects every day, and the data shows quite clearly how dominant his position has become.

At least one third of the total shares we track come via articles that are about Donald Trump.

The next closest subject is typically about 5% of total shares, and that subject is either Barack Obama or another subject Trump is pushing for or fighting against.

It’s not all positive coverage circling around him, but swings of sentiment and trust don’t seem to matter much at this stage in the media’s relationship between political leaders and the public.

The control of attention is even higher than 33% amongst certain demographics.

Over the last week, articles about Donald Trump are being shared 10% more by men than by women. And it’s clearly younger men with right-leaning politics who are leading the charge.

We didn’t find a particularly big difference when comparing education levels in our initial research.

But there was one surprise.

Donald Trump articles seem to be relatively less important to older, politically right-leaning women with lower education levels than any other group. Even in that case he still drives 29% of the shares. Interestingly, that demographic over-indexes on Brexit which is particularly surprising given this data includes both US and UK activity.

Back to the politically right-leaning young men supporting Trump, the most important subject to them other than Trump this last week was Toby Keith, one of the few performers signed up to play at Trump’s inauguration. Steve Harvey is another subject ranking high amongst this group, a black comedian who recently met with Donald Trump and got into some trouble for mocking Asian men.

If you take into account all the closely related subjects in Trump’s circle of influence it appears that he drives over half of the shares of media coverage across our data.

There are many questions about the value of the attention Trump is acquiring. How much of it can be traded and reinvested in other subjects? What is the value of this attention in other areas outside of the media? What are the tipping points where either positive or negative attention convert to action either for or against him and the things associated with him?

Given this kind of dominance over public discourse it’s worth asking if it is possible to form a monopoly on attention.

Nobody can answer that. At least not yet. But I suspect the people and orgs within that circle or those who are competing with it can feel its impact. For the rest of us, we’ve got a lot of data at Kaleida and some nice charting tools (coming soon) to help everyone understand what it all means.