Obama's '08 Campaign: Using Data to Win

  |  December 4, 2009   |  Comments

Looking ahead to an SES Chicago keynote by Dan Siroker, who led the analytics team for Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

Next week I'll be traveling to Chicago to join hundreds of fellow marketers at Search Engine Strategies Chicago, where I'll be doing a couple of sessions. There are many new and interesting sessions. I'm looking forward to attending the keynote by Dan Siroker, who led the analytics team for Barack Obama's presidential campaign and is a former Google employee as well. The title of his presentation is, "How We Used Data to Win the Presidential Election."

I've read about it, so I'm pretty sure Dan will discuss how the Obama campaign tracked the success of every e-mail, text message, and Web site visit, capitalizing on the analytics available and how they optimized each one.

In fact, in Edelman PR agency's report, "The Social Pulpit: Barack Obama's Social Media Toolkit," they reported that:

Each ad and e-mail was created in multiple versions (e.g., different headers, buttons vs. links, video vs. audio vs. plain text) to test what worked and what did not. The campaign developed more than 7,000 customized e-mails, tailored to individual prospects, and made real-time improvements to its outreach materials. Adjustments were made daily to improve performance and conversion. It worked. As the campaign progressed, the effectiveness of the e-mail campaign increased and conversion rates similarly improved.

Think about all the processes required to execute on that, what kind of manpower it takes, what types of resources were necessary. There are many businesses that can learn from the campaign in terms of converting visitors to buyers (donors), creating engaged and empowered brand advocates, and effective use of e-mail, text messaging, and online video, etc.

One of my favorite examples is the optimization of the e-mail sign up page. On this page, they experimented with the media/message or benefits of signing up and the button to sign up.

They tried four variations of the button:

  1. Sign Up

  2. Learn More

  3. Join Us Now

  4. Sign Up Now

Which do you think performed the best?

They tried six variations of the message (where the words "Get Involved" with the picture of Barack Obama is now). Three of these messages were static words and images and three were with videos.

  1. The original, "Get Involved," you see above.

  2. A family image with the words "Change We Can Believe In."

  3. A picture of Barack Obama alone with the words "Change We Can Believe In."

  4. A video clip of Barack Obama.

    Download the clip here

  5. A video clip of an appearance in Springfield.

    Download the clip here

  6. A video clip the team called Sam's video.

    Download the clip here

Which media/message do you think was most effective at converting visitors to sign up for the newsletter? Most people do not guess the correct one, even if they are the boss, and that is why you need to let the data help you make decisions.

I won't spoil Dan's presentation by providing you with the results this time, but I will share them with you next time. In the mean time, if you have any questions for Dan or me, send them to me and I'll make sure I get a chance to ask him.

I hope you can join us in Chicago at Search Engine Strategies, and if you are there, please be sure to reach out to me and don't miss the fabulous SES Pre Game Meetup planned for Sunday night before the conference.

ClickZ Live San Francisco This Year's Premier Digital Marketing Event is #CZLSF
ClickZ Live San Francisco (Aug 11-14) brings together the industry's leading practitioners and marketing strategists to deliver 4 days of educational sessions and training workshops. From Data-Driven Marketing to Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email, this year's comprehensive agenda will help you maximize your marketing efforts and ROI. Register today!


Bryan Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Analytics newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.



    • Interactive Product Manager
      Interactive Product Manager (Western Governors University) - Salt Lake CityWestern Governors University, one of the 20 largest universities...
    • SEO Senior Analyst
      SEO Senior Analyst (University of Phoenix (Apollo Education Group)) - San FranciscoSEO Senior Analyst   Position Summary...
    • SEM & Biddable Media Manager
      SEM & Biddable Media Manager (Kepler Group LLC) - New YorkAs an Optimization & Innovation Manager at Kepler Group, you will be on the bleeding...