It seems like the Republican Party has not learned much from Obama’s success with electronic media in the last presidential election, judging from the number of recipients that Republicans have on their list.
According to our research, mittromney.com has sent out emails to a total of about 4,000,000 subscribers, while barackobama.com has sent out emails to almost 10 times that amount of subscribers. Both sending domains enjoy a somewhat decent read rate* of 10-11% on average per campaign deployment. Average inbox placement across Gmail, Yahoo and AOL was fair for Obama’s campaign which averaged an 85% inbox delivery rate, but significantly better for Romney’s campaign which averaged a 92% inbox delivery rate. Both campaigns’ messages were most often categorized as spam by Yahoo which escalated the spam percentage for both camps toward the end of this observation period.
Barackobama.com emails are sent from Bluestate Digital which utilizes, in addition to organic subscribers, email addresses from 3rd party networks such as Silver Carrot’s www.fitandfabliving.com and Tranco’s www.political2cents.com. Mittromney.com emails are sent by Exact Target and no 3rd party list usage was detected by eDataSource in these campaigns.
Mittromney.com sends out their campaigns to an average of about 650 thousand subscribers per campaign (or 16% of the subscriber list), while barackobama.com’s campaigns average about 1.4 million subscribers (or 3.5% of the subscriber list) per campaign. Judging from this, we can assume that Obama’s campaign uses significantly more sophisticated segmentation tactics than Romney’s campaign.
89 different campaigns or campaign segments were sent out from mittromney.com in the last 30 days. A vast majority of these (or 71) were sent from firstname.lastname@example.org and 4 each from email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Other senders include other state teams mitt, centinello, community and email@example.com.
1,096 different campaigns or campaign segments were sent out from barackobama.com in the last 30 days. A vast majority (or 1,006) were sent from firstname.lastname@example.org and 84 were sent from email@example.com, which seems to be online grassroots organizing tool that the campaign uses. Other infrequently used senders were account, california, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
From a creative standpoint, most of the campaigns viewed from both parties leave a lot to be desired from a style and creative perspective, often with no images or one image, sometimes with embedded video link and a single link to a donation form. The message was frequently a quick rebuke or comment on comments from the other camp, encouragement to donate and meet with candidates. Obama’s campaign had a significant number of emails focusing on specific segments, such as voters in specific cities, women, African Americans and people with disabilities, while both campaign did send out a number of generic emails promoting support gear such as t-shirts, cell phone holsters, buttons, etc. Obama’s campaign did have a much more prominent number of emails thanking for donations or emails sent to the campaign.
*Read rate is the actual percentage of subscribers that have clicked to open an email one or more times across all variations of the email (HTML, Multipart and Text) as well as from emails that were opened with images blocked and differs from open rates as open rates only detect the number of emails where an image has been detected as viewed.