If people are concerned that Michael Bloomberg's potential presidency would create a complex of conflicts of interest, they'll want to see new data that shows that Bloomberg News ($BLOOMBERG) is already benefitting from the attention.
Bloomberg News gained more than 70,000 followers on Facebook in just the past few weeks, coinciding with the candidate of the same name's rise in polls and just before his appearance at the Democratic Debate in Las Vegas.
The jump in the following appears even more start when graphed on a timeline as we do above. On February 16, Facebook shows Bloomberg's Facebook page — the one for his media business, not his campaign — at 3,073,976 followers. On January 1, it had 2,996,666 followers. This is the largest jump in followers the Bloomberg News page has seen in such a short time. Ever.
This is the largest jump in followers the Bloomberg News page has seen in such a short time. Ever.
The last two times the Bloomberg Business Facebook page saw jumps in followers were — not coincidentally, we're guessing — on election days. To add to the timing of all of this, this is the first time the Bloomberg Business Facebook page has seen a year-over-year percent-change uptick since at least 2017.
The rise in followers also comes as Bloomberg outspends other candidates on Facebook. In just the past 7 days, Bloomberg has spent $8,019,040 on Facebook Page ads (according to Facebook itself), more than $1 million per day. All of that spend was on "Mike Bloomberg 2020 Inc", not on Bloomberg Media. For comparison, in the same 7 days, Donald Trump's campaign has spent $330,469 on Facebook.
Given that Bloomberg's spend is squarely on the campaign, the gain in followers for Bloomberg News is from the association. And given the campaign's current rate of spend, it's highly likely that the media operation will continue to benefit from his candidacy and spending.
And, let's be clear: more Facebook followers means more readers, which means more revenue for the media operation. More revenue for the media operation means more coverage. As to whether or not the operation will cover all candidates equally remains in question.
It isn't just Facebook ads that are benefitting Bloomberg News, either. On January 31, 2020, when Bloomberg launched a massive TV campaign leading up to the Super Bowl, Facebook users mentioned Bloomberg 726,000 times in just 24 hours.
Yesterday, the New York Times ran this headline: "Bloomberg News’s Dilemma: How to Cover a Boss Seeking the Presidency". In it, Michael M. Grynbaum details Bloomberg News editor in chief John Micklethwait's commitment to remaining an independent news organization.
When asked about his media operation's independence by CBS News, however, Mr. Bloomberg responded, "You just have to learn to live with some things. They get a paycheck. But with your paycheck comes some restrictions and responsibilities."
However things turn out — election and ad revenue for Bloomberg News — the social data here shows that, independent or not, Micklethwait and team are enjoying quite the uptick in followers and traffic, especially given that Bloomberg.com had slipped 55 spots in Alexa global internet traffic and engagement rankings since November.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.