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SEPTEMBER 2016

ANALYSIS

This huge investment is a sign of the Republicans’ commitment to digital. However, it may also be an admission that the party may need to be the one focusing on such efforts, as there’s one person they can’t rely on to do the same: their candidate.

The Trump effect

The Republicans are demonstrating a new commitment to digital, but their candidate has notably eschewed a data-driven approach, calling data campaign operations “overrated”

practices in the technology and commercial sectors, to gain competitive advantage.” Despite the number of firms now offering digital insights and big datapowered marketing for campaigns, many

this election cycle will help usher in a true cultural change for the party, placing more emphasis on digital tools, and helping to recruit and nurture tech talent for future campaigns.

Donald Trump is notably not engaged with technology. He has told depositions in the past that he doesn’t use email, has been photographed reading printed-out versions of websites, and has called campaign data operations “overrated”, claiming that he doesn’t plan to spend much money on them during the general election. Instead, Trump will rely on the RNC’s existing data operations team of around 60 staffers, and plans to make use of the party’s infrastructure to power any analytics his campaign might need. But the RNC cannot be purely at the beck and call of one candidate. The 2016 election cycle also includes races for 34 US Senate seats, 12 state governors, every single Congressional district and countless local ballot issues across the 50 states. Pulled in so many

“OF THE 626 POLITICAL OPERATIVES WITH EXPERIENCE IN DIGITAL, DATA AND ANALYTICS ON EVERY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN SINCE 2004, ONLY 123 WERE HIRED BY REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGNS” are relatively inexperienced when it comes to dealing with a campaign the size and scope of a presidential bid. What’s more, due to the highly contentious primary season that saw various Republicans battling it out to be the party’s nominee, some firms have thrown their support behind contenders who have now fallen by the wayside, leaving them in an awkward position when it comes to pitching for Trump’s campaign. “There is going to be a real challenge in terms of finding people who were at the level the Obama campaign people were four years ago,” said Engage’s Patrick Ruffini in an interview with the New York Times. Despite these difficulties, many Republicans say they are optimistic that

The Republican National Committee appears unified in its awareness of the need for a more mobile campaign. It has made its largest ever digital ad deal, reserving $150m (£114m) worth of video ad inventory ahead of the general election, with a focus on mobile video, premium digital and highimpact placements. By comparison, the RNC spent around $390m in total across all channels during the 2012 election. It has worked with Google to target Hispanic voters, women, millennials and independents in swing states that could prove crucial, and is using media partners to ensure its ad spending remains agile in the lead up to crucial moments like the presidential debates and the last few weeks ahead of the election.

directions, the RNC’s data team will likely struggle to cope. Outsourcing his data operation, along with a number of other responsibilities, to the party rather than the campaign itself is a highly unusual move on Trump’s part, but then his entire campaign has been made up of unusual moves. During the primary season, he didn’t employ a polling expert,

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Mobile Marketing September 2016