The Obama campaign turned Democratic National Committee grassroots project, Organizing for America, is all about the data. They’re advertising to fill a slew of jobs, some of which involve slicing and dicing voter file data.
The Senior Data Analyst, for example “Will work with the DNC Data Team to regularly update VoteBuilder, the DNC’s national voter file. Will help support the DNC’s targeting team and voter file prospecting program and collaborate with other team members to optimize data processes.”
Sure, that data is used for targeting potential voters through all sorts of media, and good-ol-fashioned in-person canvassing. But it is also used for online ad targeting. I describe the process in detail in my recent piece on voter file-based ad targeting. The DNC and RNC have done it and we can expect them to do it again.
When I spoke in May with Natalie Foster, the DNC’s New Media Director, she told me she planned to hire additional staff for her department. I’m not sure the data analytics positions are part of that unit, but it’s pretty clear the “New Media Analytics Engineer” role is. That person will be “responsible for analyzing past and present user response to the organization’s e-mails and web site, optimizing the organization’s online presence, and helping to develop analytics reporting tools.
Would the DNC really need to develop its own analytics tools in-house? That would surprise me.
Anyway, one thing to consider is Catalist, the data firm serving progressive campaigns and organizations founded by Clinton White House Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes. Currently, Catalist is essentially the Democratic Party’s voter file warehouse. Will that relationship change if the DNC boosts its own data analytics capabilities?
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