By John Landsman, Director, Strategy and AnalyticsemailWar

Over the past few months, we’ve been investigating political emails, primarily from within the field of presidential primary candidates.  We found and reported a wide range of email activity and performance — not necessarily connected with the respective candidates’ polling strength — as well as potential issues with mailing practices and inbox performance.

Someone in our shop raised the tantalizing question of whether changes in the candidates’ polling data could be seen in the email performance of the respective candidates.  We’ve also been watching that.  So far the short answer is . . . . No.

For the field of nine Republican candidates polling at >1%, we followed their New Hampshire polling and their overall mail metrics as of mid-October, mid-November and mid-December.  The data table with this analysis can be found in the Appendix.

We see lots of changes, but none that consistently tie polling position changes to changes in — or level of — email activity or performance.   However, there some very interesting patterns.

Note:  In the data discussed below:

  • Panel reach” refers to our estimated size of the respective domain’s email base
  • Read rate” is our proxy for open rate
  • “Inbox %” is our deliverability metric

Summary Observations

  • Mr. Christie has had the largest polling increases, having risen from 8th-ranked in October, to 3rd-ranked in December.  But this improvement has been achieved with a miniscule email presence (<200K in panel reach), and a small though slightly growing number of monthly campaigns.  These campaigns do have excellent deliverability (>90%) and very strong read rates (40%).
  • Mr. Trump, long the polling leader by widening margins, also has a very small and slowly growing email presence (<500K in projected panel reach), and deploys relatively few campaigns.  Nevertheless those mailings have very strong inbox and read rate performance.  Email does not yet appear to be a strong component in this candidate’s media mix.  (Quote from the New York Times, 12/20/2015:  “Mr. Trump’s greatest organizing asset is a database of thousands of email addresses of Iowans who have attended packed rallies. Yet it appears that organizers have only recently begun tapping that database . . .”
  • Mr. Cruz, who is now tied in the polls with Rubio for second place (up from 3rd place in November and 7th place in October), has the second largest audience, which has grown rapidly.  This candidate mails extensively — 141 campaigns in the past thirty days.  His inbox performance is extremely weak (60%) though improving; and his read rates have improved e polling position has dropped from 4th place in November to 6th place in December, still shows the largest (and growing) projected panel reach (currently 4.5M) in this field.  However, his inbox performance remains weak (87%), and his read rate performance is only half of Trump’s, and one-third of Christie’s.
  • Mr.Rubio maintained his second place polling position from November, but did so with a decrease in his (relatively large) panel reach, weak (though improving) deliverability, and a declining number of campaigns deployed. His read rates remained a low-moderate 16%.
  • Ms. Fiorina, whose polling position in this group has dropped from second to almost last place, has a drastically eroding panel reach (from 3.1M in November to 897K in December), extremely poor (53%) inbox performance, but improving (average to moderate) read rates.
  • Dr. Carson, whose polling position has dropped from 4th place in November to 6th place in December, still shows the largest (and growing) projected panel reach (currently 4.5M) in this field. However, his inbox performance remains weak (87%), and his read rate performance is only half of Trump’s, and one-third of Christie’s.
  • Among the other consistently lower-polling candidates (Bush, Kasich, Paul), inbox placement has been consistently weak, suggesting problems with subscriber commitment to those candidates, as well as other issues with audience acquisition and mailing best practice.  Kasich has shown some growth in panel reach, and has high-moderate read rates.  Despite having a relatively large panel reach (fourth largest in the field), Paul now owns the worst inbox performance in the field, at only 38%.  He also occupies last place polling position.
  • The following pages and Appendix provide details for these observations.

We’ll keep watching and reporting on these activities as the campaigning continues.

——————————————————————————————————–

THIRTY DAY CANDIDATE PERFORMANCE CHANGES

(CANDIDATES LISTED BY SIZE AND DIRECTION OF THIRTY DAY NH POLLING CHANGES)

 

CHRISTIE

  • Polling improved 5.5 points
  • Miniscule panel reach improved 139% — to 134K
  • Weak deliverability improves 5% — to 92.9%
  • Number of campaigns increased 8% – to 41
  • Strong read rates improve 12%, to 50.0%, by far the highest observed in this field

CRUZ

  • Polling improved 2.0 points; now tied with Rubio for second place
  • Panel reach improved by 80%, to 3.6M, the second largest in the field
  • Terrible deliverability improved 2.0% — to 59.5%
  • Number of campaigns increased 18% – to 141
  • Read rates improved 37%; to an average-to-moderate 15.43%

TRUMP

  • Polling improved 1.7 points — still polling first, by a very large margin
  • Small panel reach (492K) nevertheless reflects 21% increase
  • Somewhat limited email programming grew 27% to 38 campaigns in last 30 days
  • Current deliverability and read rates are very strong, (95.3%, 26.2%, respectively).

KASICH

  • Polling improved by 0.5 point
  • Panel reach grows by 52% to 575K (the third smallest in the field)
  • Poor deliverability further erodes 16%, to 74.1%
  • Number of campaigns declined by 21%, to 45

BUSH

  • Polling improved 0.4 point
  • Panel reach grows by 12%, to 654K
  • Poor deliverability eroded by 1% — to only 80% inbox placement
  • Number of campaigns dropped by 18% to 42
  • Moderate read rates declined  4%, to 20.5%

RUBIO

  • Polling improved 0.1 point; now tied with Cruz for second place
  • Panel reach decreased 17%, to 2.4M, third largest in the field
  • Terrible deliverability improved 34% — still only 68.85% inbox placement
  • Number of campaigns declined 11%, to 78
  • Read rates remain essentially unchanged, a moderate 16.44%.

FIORINA

  • Polling improved 0.1 point
  • Panel reach eroded by 71%, to 897K
  • Poor deliverability increased by 17%, to 52.8%
  • Number of campaigns more than doubled, to 41
  • Below average read rates improved 66%, to 16.5%

PAUL

  • Polling declined 1.1 points; he is now in last place
  • Panel reach grew 67%, to 2.0M, fourth largest in the field
  • Terrible deliverability eroded by 6% — to only 36.6%
  • Number of campaigns increased 7%, to 98
  • Weak read rates further declined by 8% — to 7.33%

CARSON

  • Polling declined 4.5 points, the largest decline in this field
  • Panel reach grew by 25%; still the highest in the field — 4.5M
  • Poor deliverability improved by 8%, to 87.2%
  • Number of campaigns decreased by 6%, to 68
  • Moderate read rates declined by 25%, to 13.8%
  • Current deliverability and read rates are very strong, (95.3%, 26.2%, respectively).

Moderate read rates declined by 25%, to 13.8%

APPENDIX

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 12.29.30 PM

 

Comments are closed.