Thursday, November 29, 2012

Can Romney's Loss Be Traced to List Shortfalls?

Did anemic mailing lists help doom the Romney campaign? A "Direct Marketing News" piece by News Editor Al Urbanski cites a telling analysis by GB Heidarsson, SVP of sales and marketing at eDataSource, which monitored the mailings of both candidates during the campaign. Heidarsson reports that Romney's mailing list consisted of about 4 million individual supporters, versus 40 million for Obama, The Obama campaign also sent more total e-mails, at the rate of 20-to-1, according to Heidarsson. Romney, who notably lost out with Hispanics, younger voters and women, even failed to knock on the doors of his conservative Republican base: "Obama was using all the lists the Democratic National Committee had, but we couldn't see — and we followed this closely — any list rentals or co-registrations for Romney," Heidarsson told DM News. He concludes, "What percentage of a 10-times-larger list would you have had to get to vote another way to actually win this election? The way I see it, the Romney campaign left a huge potential channel virtually untouched."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Survey: Campaigns Ads Wasted on Young Voters

Here's a discouraging tidbit for campaigners trying to get out the youth vote: A survey of students at Miami University’s Farmer School of Business, in ad-blitzed swing state Ohio, found more than half (56%) believed social media, advertising, and voter registration efforts did not impact their decision on whether to vote in Election 2012. Before campaign planners give up on spending to mobilize younger voters, they may want to rethink their social media targeting and spend, however. The survey also found that while 41% of students said their knowledge of the issues came mainly from television news, 22% cited social media as their main political information source. See the news story at

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Election Took Online Targeting to a New Level

Isn't it ironic that the Obama administration, which threatens regulation to protect online privacy, pushed online targeting to a whole new level to win re-election? Gordon Crovitz, a Wall Street Journal" columnist, makes that point in a recent piece on how politicians are now leveraging massive databases for online "hypertargeting." First, like commercial online advertisers, a political campaign drops a "cookie" on user computers to track online habits -- and the Obama team dropped 87 million different cookies on unsuspecting visitors, Crovitz notes. Then, like sophisticated online retailers, online activity data is enhanced by demographics (like sex and age) and purchase behaviors (like charity donations). Finally, the data is politically enriched by publicly available voter records. And don't forget the trove of data mined from social media. And yet the same politicians talk about regulating commercial data usage! It would be less hypocritical and more economically sensible, as Crovitz argues, for the winner of the White House to "give credit to how his campaign made smart use of targeted advertising online -- and then let the Internet continue to evolve without getting in the way." To read the WSJ column, see

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Did Obama's Social Media Success Help Him Win?

Before Barack Obama won the Presidency, he trounced Mitt Romney in social media -- at least in terms of Twitter followers, Facebook likes and YouTube fans. A number of stories, from the TV news to the "Direct Marketing News" magazine, tallied the social score pre-election: On Twitter, Obama had 21.5 million followers to Romney's 1.6 million. On Facebook, Obama had 31.6 million likes, while Romney garnered just 11.6 million. Obama's YouTube channel had 254,000 subscribers, with Romney reaching a mere 27,000. Similarly, Obama's Instagram feed had 1.5 million followers, while Romney attracted only 68,000. Did Obama's social margin translate into a vote margin? No ruling on that as yet. But to put Obama's social victory in perspective, it was one piece of an expensive multi-channel campaign that included micro-targeted online ads and, of course, television, and his social reach tapped a relatively small segment of voters: A recent Pew Research Center survey found that social media networks are a regular news source for just 17% of the population. For a good discussion of social media in the recent Presidential race, see the Channel 4 story at

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Online Videos Nab Attention of Majority of Voters

Whether informative or inflammatory, online political videos clearly won the attention of a majority of voters in the 2012 political races. According to the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, 55% of registered voters watched political videos online this election season. And it was a highly social affair: Some 52% of registered voters said that other people recommended political videos for them to watch during the political campaigns, with social networking sites playing a prominent role in this process. For more on the research, see

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Election Shaped by Cutting-Edge Target Marketing

Political campaigning in 2012 leveraged a range of sophisticated direct marketing tools -- and left behind important lessons on what worked and what missed the mark  An excellent "Target Marketing" magazine article has surveyed direct marketing tactics that shaped the recent election, noting how Democrats and Republicans employed large, complex voter databases; "retargeting" web services for more effective online ads; micro-targeting analytics for personalized direct messaging; social media endorsements; and targeted e-mail and texting to capture votes and donations. For a more detailed discussion by political marketing pros, read the full article at

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Did Presidential Race Use Smart E-mail Marketing?

How well did Barack Obama and Mitt Romney use e-mail to market their messages?  Recently, Loren McDonald, vice president of industry relations at Silverpop, shared his analysis of e-mails from both presidential campaigns with Target Marketing magazine. He found successes and stumbles on both sides of the election contest. The Obama campaign definitely did better in terms of using first names to personalize for better response:  Obama e-mails greeted recipients by first name 98% of the time, while Romney e-mails did it only 8.5% of the time. But the candidates both missed the mark in other areas, such as failing to consistently use a well-known person in the From line. Through July, Obama had used 15 different "From Names," and Romney had used 17 different "From Names." For more analysis of Presidential campaign e-mails, see

Thursday, November 1, 2012

PACs' TV Ads Rate High With Independent Voters

PACs dominate the TV ads seen as most effective by independent voters in this Presidential election. Ace Metrix surveyed independent voters and found that, of the top 10 most effective presidential ads, seven out of 10 were from PACs, according to a report in Adweek magazine. Only three non-PAC ads, from the Obama for America campaign, made the researcher's list of top 10 most effective ads. No ads from the Romney for President campaign scored in the top 10, but, of the seven top PAC ads, six favored Romney. For more details, see the story