Since the presidential debates are now over, I thought I would take another look at how Obama and Romney are doing on the email front, one of the few avenues left to make a difference in capturing the attention of the still undecided voters. TV and Radio commercials are of course the main focus of these last weeks, but it is interesting to see that the Obama campaign seems to continue to embrace and grow their list and activity in email, both naturally and by acquisition, while Romney doesn’t seem to be catching up at all and does not have any visible 3rd party acquisition tactics in place. In fact, as we last reported on August 30th Obama has about 10 times the list size of Romney, and is increasing the lead. Our readings over the last 30 days indicate that Obama’s list has grown to about 42MM or by about 5% in the last two months, while Romney’s list has decreased by about the same percentage.
In addition, Romney is having a massive problem with inbox delivery at Yahoo and it seems that they have not been able to effectively address this issue, despite otherwise successful execution in other digital channels.
Some interesting things are happening in terms of frequency of emails, where the Romney Campaign seems to have slowed down if anything and barely sends out emails to half of their subscribers each day, but the Obama Campaign sends at least 1 email a day to their regular subscribers and is literally bombarding active campaigners with what seems mostly automated messages from the dashboard that they use for grassroots organizing. The Obama campaign deploys around 40 separate segments per day. This high frequency of emails sent to active campaigners might be the culprit in some slight inbox issues with Yahoo, where inbox delivery is down to around 75%. The Obama Campaign clearly knows that it’s all or nothing this time around and that whatever the outcome, Obama isn’t running for president ever again. They are therefore willing to deploy as much email as they possibly can get out the door in the hope of influencing the results of the election.
Overall read rates have stayed fairly consistent and deployments are pretty consistent from a volume per week day perspective for both presidential campaigns.
In closing, nothing much has changed in the approach of the two campaigns, the Obama team certainly has used email in a savvy and aggressive way to maximize the contact that they have with potential voters, while the Romney campaign almost seems to have adopted email as a second thought without really putting much emphasis on maximizing its reach or effectiveness. I myself would not like to be the one managing the email channel for Romney if he is not successful in the upcoming election.