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At #PDF12, Zac Moffatt Talks Digital Strategy

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, June 12 2012

Zac Moffatt at Personal Democracy Forum 2012. Photo: Esty Stein / PDM

In a talk on PDF's main stage at New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, Mitt Romney's digital director Zac Moffatt delivered a pitch for online advertising. He pointed to survey data that indicates one in three online adults — and a majority of adults at all age levels are online, according to recent Pew data — are completely ignoring "live television," focusing instead on using tools like DVR to skip over ads entirely.

The result is an ever-decreasing audience for television ads as online audiences grow, Moffatt said.

"This is going to be the first cycle that persuasion and mobilization become a core component of the digital online advertising experience," he said from the stage.

"You can see, participate, and get other people to participate."

In comments after his talk, Moffatt said there isn't enough attention to the way individual elements of digital strategy — like YouTube or Facebook ads — fit into a larger whole.

"Hulu has a role, Youtube has a role, they all have roles," Moffatt said. "I would assume the guys at the Obama campaign are doing the same thing we are. Sitting down and being like, what is the plan? What's a state plan for digital look like?"

Later in the conversation, Moffatt also took a swipe at the way reporters — techPresident included — have been covering the Obama campaign's use of technology.

"I'm sure they don't tell you guys anything," Moffatt said of his opponents. Referencing a Politico article, about the Obama campaign's technology infrastructure, that ran over the weekend, he added: "That article didn't say anything. I could have written that article for them without talking to one person. If you don't believe they have people outside the campaign whose companies are powering the data you don't understand how data works. Everybody's giving them a pass on what's happening."

The Obama campaign, for instance, is a client of software providers NGP VAN and Blue State Digital, online advertising firm Bully Pulpit, and a variety of other tech companies. The Obama campaign's "one-click" mobile donations feature debuted in March sure looks a lot like this new software Blue State Digital announced in May. Bully Pulpit's Andrew Bleeker has said that while Bully Pulpit has a "close relationship" with the campaign, online ad strategy comes from the campaign.

This post has been updated.