Over the next couple of months I will share my perspective on the successes of the Romney and Republican digital efforts in 2012 and the lessons we learnt along the way. However, in order to have that conversation I think it is important to share some thoughts and key top lines of the campaign so people have context for the period of the campaign post May 1 to November 6th.
Elections are zero-sum games, but digital is not. There can be a tendency for people to determine that when you lose, there were no successes and that all the ideas were bad. It is imperative that we as a party understand that we have an opportunity to continue to grow if we fully capitalize on the achievements and time invested over the last two years.
In the past week the Republican National Committee (RNC) began incorporating the information collected as part of its Joint Fundraising Committee with Romney for President (RFP) into its direct marketing efforts. The campaign provided to the RNC more than 1,000,000+ online donor contacts with email addresses and over 2,200,000 active new emails. The donor file alone represents a digital community that contributed over $100 million in 2012.
This community, built in just over 5 months, represents a 1,000% increase in the donor base that the RNC digital effort produced for all of the 2010 cycle. Had RFP had the ability to incorporate this asset on the day of the Supreme Court Ruling on the Healthcare Mandate the Romney campaign would have been able to raise at least $15 million more on that day alone. Imagine the impact that $15 million in primary dollars in late June could have had on the campaign’s ability to respond to the Obama campaign – not to mention the tens of millions more that we would have been able to raise over the subsequent months. This is just one example of how assets generated over the past two years could be harnessed to build infrastructure to last beyond single cycles.
- Due to the planning and execution of the RNC, especially its email marketing and digital team, RFP was able to immediately combine the two digital efforts and process, from non max out donors, over $182M between May 1 – November online with 96% of donations being $250 or less
- Together with the RNC we raised over $65 million online in October – the most successful online fundraising month in the history of Republican politics and $100 million in the last 60 days.
- We came out of the primary with a staff of 14 and were immediately given the resources to grow to over 140 including non political staff from technology companies across America. We achieved this growth in less than 60 days.
- Our core development team (Developers, Project Managers, Quality Assurance, Network Operations, etc) grew to 55+ and they oversaw over 2 dozen major development projects in 6 months – producing over 35,000+ hours of development
- To make up for our limited time frame we worked with the best minds in Silicon Valley to catch up with the Democrats. Read the article: http://tcrn.ch/NQyTVx
- RFP worked with over 50 of the top digital service providers ranging from Lotame to Piryx to Eventbrite to ThisMoment to Optimizely to Google to Keystone and beyond.
- On the social media front we grew our Facebook community by over 10.4 million between May 1 – November (almost double the growth Obama experienced during this period) to reach a total of 12 million+ with an additional 5.1 million for Paul Ryan (more than Obama experienced in the comparable time and almost 10 times larger than Vice President’s Biden’s page today after 2 general elections).
- On Twitter we created a community of over 1.7 million for Mitt Romney and 540,000 for Paul Ryan.
- From January 1st, 2012 to November 6th, 2012, there were 3,417 posts by Mitt Romney on Facebook. These posts garnered 5,381,043 comments, 69,109,430 likes, and 3,999,954 shares for a total of 78,490,427 engagements.
- Through the final 90+ days we had engagement rates on our Facebook page over 30 – 40% vs an Obama page that averaged 5 – 9 %.
Site Traffic, Store and RSVP Ticketing System
- We built out infrastructure that was able to handle over 38M site visitors in less than 6 months
- We built a customized RSVP / ticketing solution with EventBrite that processed over 1 million RSVP’s between July and November and produced almost 500,000 organic unique emails to the RNC for the future.
- We built a comprehensive online store which launched in June and sold over 900,000 items, as well as pop up stores at every major Romney event around the country that leveraged Square technology. At the Convention we did over $700,000 of sales and ultimately sold an item to over 5% of all Convention attendees.
- On online advertising we delivered over 32 billion impressions over the course of the campaign and generated more than 55 million clicks on various ad units.
- We had over 676 million views of our various online video advertising content which produced an engagement time of over 471 years.