Based on a sophisticated effort and larger emphasis on digital and new media, the Obama campaign engaged supporters and raised an unprecedented amount of money through its digital efforts.
How did the Obama campaign become so effective in the digital realm? Engage, an interactive digital political agency in Washington, D.C., recently published a report entitled “Inside the Cave.” It features a 93-page, step-by-step in-depth look at the secrets to the Obama digital team’s success.
We’ve collected 15 of the report’s key topics and published them here.
(Note: A special thanks to Engage president Patrick Ruffini for permission to republish parts of the report.)
“The Cave” was the site of the Obama analytics team in Chicago where a group of programmers revolutionized the way that campaigns are run.
Right off the bat, it’s clear that the Obama organization lapped Romney when it came to employee presence online, the number of donors, and the size of the email list support.
While Romney’s campaign beefed up staff, it still was far from enough to compete with the Obama digital and analytics staff.
The team Obama built came from a wide array of startups, tech firms and even particle physics labs.
Here’s where the Obama analytics team delivered: They were able to accurately discover the real effect of early voting and predict with startling accuracy how people would vote.
The beefed-up digital squad had a large effect on fundraising, amounting for the vast majority of campaign revenue.
One single email — with an “I will be outspent” subject line — pulled in $2.7 million alone.
The email pleas went through a significant amount of testing among focus groups to see what subject lines and body text were the most effective at eliciting a response.
Quick Donate was an important feature that made giving easy — it allowed mobile users to give and streamlined the whole process.
From the internal site system alone, the Obama campaign received $250 million from supporters.
Their website was built to last and designed to serve as a useful resource. Traffic to BarackObama.com dwarfed traffic to Romney’s site.
The internal system was vigorously tested constantly to design for unprecedented use. The closest thing the Romney campaign had — known as “Project Orca” — was untested and flopped on Election Day.
The Obama campaign also invested an unprecedented amount in online ads.
Even more, the campaign took a “Moneyball” approach to TV ad buys, looking at metrics that normally went unnoticed to reach a core audience, targeted audience more effectively.
The Obama digital model will endure and serve as the model for any serious campaign to come, outliving phone calls, landline polling and earlier campaign structures.