Last Push: Battleground State Email Review

Casey BartoThe end is almost in sight: Only one more day until Election Day. That means no more endless campaign ads. We Ohioans are looking forward to Tuesday when the madness of campaign advertising will come to a close. It’s been like standing in front of a fire hose. If you’ve signed up to receive campaign emails, you’re likely (as I am) ready for them to trickle to a stop as well.
I’m usually not one to get closely involved in politics, but for the purposes of evaluation (and a little curiosity), last Tuesday I signed up for both Obama’s and Romney’s campaign emails. Being the last 7 days before the election (not to mention living in a battle ground state like Ohio), I was expecting to receive a lot of email. I was not disappointed.

Some interesting points from each camp:

Send Frequency: Living in a swing state probably has impacted send frequency from both camps. I’d be interested to know the frequency in non-swing states. Tuesday through Friday last week, I received 13 emails from Romney, and 7 emails from Obama. The weekend was a different story. I received 15 emails from the Romney campaign and 5 emails from the Obama campaign.

The content of Romney’s weekend emails attempted to do one final push making the case for the candidate and encouraging the recipient to get out and vote. Obama’s campaign seemed to focus on being social (We wrote about Obama’s social strategy during the 2008 election). Emails encouraged recipients to connect with the president on Facebook and watch, share, and submit relevant videos.

Use of Data: When opting in to receive emails for both camps, you are required to enter your name, email and zip code. While I’m not surprised that I received emails from each candidate with specific information to Ohio/Northeast Ohio, it was only Romney that addressed me by the name I had put in the name field (I put my first initial). Emails from Obama addressed me generically as “friend.”

It’s interesting to note that Obama used my campaign donation history data to encourage me to donate. Over the weekend, I received an email from the Obama campaign’s COO with the sentence “According to our records associated with this email address, you haven’t chipped in to this campaign yet. So this is it, the very last call. If you care about the outcome of this election, now is the time to show it.”

However, in that same email, I was addressed again as “Friend” even though they have my first and last name.

In addition to using data to personalize emails, the New York Times reports that both camps have started increasing the use of 3rd party web trackers. Both campaigns have denied doing this, but a study by a computer science student revealed that pages on both sites contained users’ information, such as house number, street name, zip code, or username and id number in the page titles.

Who Gets into the Inbox: Return Path has an interesting infographic on the email practices of both candidates. (Did you know that more Yahoo! users are Republican? Or that Obama has five times the subscribers as Romney?)

Have you subscribed to any political email? Do you feel they connected with you? Did they email too frequently? Share your thoughts below!

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  1. […] Those of us in swing states seemed to have received the brunt of political efforts. On Monday, I wrote about the email campaigns of the presidential candidates in their last push before Election Day. I […]

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