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Romney Campaign Digital Director: Online Efforts Enjoyed Success

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, December 12 2012

In a blog post, Zac Moffatt wrote that just because the Romney campaign lost the election doesn't mean its digital efforts were not successful.

"Elections are zero-sum games, but digital is not," he writes, in what appears to be first of a series of blog posts for Targeted Victory, his consulting firm. "There can be a tendency for people to determine that when you lose, there were no successes and that all the ideas were bad. It is imperative that we as a party understand that we have an opportunity to continue to grow if we fully capitalize on the achievements and time invested over the last two years."

Targeted Victory handled more than $17 million in disbursements from Romney's campaign effort, according to an analysis by OpenSecrets.org corroborated by techPresident's own look at disclosure records. FLS Connect, which provided click-to-call tools and other services for the campaign and is also connected to Romney advisors, handled another $16.5 million. The campaign mushroomed after the primary from a handful of digital staffers to more than 100 in a struggle to catch up to Obama for America, which had considerably more people on the payroll than the Romney campaign from day one. Team Romney rolled out features hours, days or months after the Obama campaign, and their every typo or false step was immediately highlighted in the national media.

In the wake of the election, techPresident and others have focused on how the Obama campaign used technology to identify likely voters and increasing turnout. Moffatt, as digital director, was ostensibly working towards that goal too — but had a dossier limited to the online world.

To that end, he details what kind of donor data the campaign has provided to the Republican National Committee, which he says includes more than one million online donor contacts with email addresses and over 2.2 million active new emails.

"The donor file alone represents a digital community that contributed over $100 million in 2012," he writes. "This community, built in just over 5 months, represents a 1,000% increase in the donor base that the RNC digital effort produced for all of the 2010 cycle. Had RFP had the ability to incorporate this asset on the day of the Supreme Court Ruling on the Healthcare Mandate the Romney campaign would have been able to raise at least $15 million more on that day alone. Imagine the impact that $15 million in primary dollars in late June could have had on the campaign’s ability to respond to the Obama campaign – not to mention the tens of millions more that we would have been able to raise over the subsequent months."

He further explains that due to planning by the RNC email marketing and digital team, the Romney campaign was able to combine the two digital efforts and process over $182 million from non maxed-out donors online between May and November online "with 96% of donations being $250 or less ... Together with the RNC, we raised over $65 million online in October – the most successful online fundraising month in the history of Republican politics and $100 million in the last 60 days."

Moffatt goes on to write that the campaign grew its Facebook community by over 10.4 million between May and November, leading to a total reach of over 12 million with an additional 5.1 million for Paul Ryan, "almost double the growth Obama experienced during this period [and] more than Obama experienced in the comparable time and almost 10 times larger than Vice President’s Biden’s page today after 2 general elections."

In addition to a Twitter following of over 1.7 million for Romney and 540,000 for Ryan, Moffatt emphasizes that "through the final 90+ days we had engagement rates on our Facebook page over 30 – 40% vs an Obama page that averaged 5 – 9 %."

With regard to online advertising, Moffat notes that the campaign delivered over 32 billion impressions that generated more than 55 million clicks, and that the campaign had over 676 million views of video advertising content "which produced an engagement time of over 471 years."

Moffat did not address project ORCA, the campaign's colossally troubled, technology-enabled poll tracking operation, which crashed on election day.