Bite-size Case Study

Obama’s online campaign: a personal touch for the masses

Published on July 31, 2016 Originally recorded 2010   6 min
0:03
I was lucky enough to get a briefing from the team behind Obama's online campaign. They ran a company called Blue State Digital. Blue state is what the Americans call democratic states. And early on in the campaign, they allied themselves to Obama and both with him learnt lessons and put into practice the very successful operation they ran online, and that is still running.
0:28
So let's look at some of the raw numbers. Well, firstly, Obama's online team, a massive 13 and a half million individual e-mail subscriber addresses. That gave them 13 and a half million people to send e-mails to, to send YouTube videos to, but also, it meant there were 13 and a half million people tagging messages for Carson podcast. In other words, send them on to friends and family with a recommendation. We know that messages received from people you know and trust are much more effective than something coming from an anonymous political party or presidential candidate. Let's now look at what Obama's team achieved in financial terms online.
1:05
Well, they raised an amazing $500 million online, half of which came from corporate sources who usually account for 90 percent of any presidential campaign. They raised $250 million from individuals. They got 3.2 million people to donate money to them, and they donated an average of $80 on two occasions. That's a $160 from over 3 million people.
1:39
The Obama campaign was constantly experimenting to see what were the best methods of reaching their supporters and getting new ones. They managed to obtain over 2 million numbers of mobile phone subscribers, and they use this to send them text messages. In particular, when Barack Obama chose Joe Biden as his presidential running mate, the news was first broken to the world by a text message to his subscribers. They also set up their own social networking site, MyBO, and they had over 2 million active profiles. But despite their experimentation, they remain convinced that e-mail was the killer application, was the most effective way of reaching people. And I think the figure of $500 million raised indicates that they were probably right. So much for the techniques,
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Obama’s online campaign: a personal touch for the masses

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