Looking Back, Peer-to-Peer Did It For The GOP

Doug Hochberg, Chief Digital Officer, Republican National Committee, Joe Mandese, Editor-in-Chief, MediaPost

Doug: Peer to peer is where a lot of money got spent, late in the cycle because there is so much more data on individuals. You can use your internal first party data to know who you’re targeting. One of our best sources. It’s not inexpensive to start a program like this. Hundreds of millions of dollars into our own data. A lot of information for cellphone. we’re asking for your cellphone number now. For P2P, we spend a lot of money and buy from brokers.

We’re going to start to see with spam calling, emails effective to a point, too many in inbox. People hang up so quickly. Idea of reaching somebody in a text message, we know they’re going to read it because they hate having that test message notification. Can’t be an automated system.

We’re using it for both, fundraising. You can see a direct ROI. GOTV as well, running it to a landing page. We could see conversions based on who was getting a P2P message. Successful tactic. Provide useful information. They’re going to want to interact. 

Our side gets a bad rap for not wanting to interact with new technologies. But people were happy to send us money, sign up to volunteer.

Joe: Level of sophistication of the voters? Shift to cynicism? 

Doug: people are involved where they want to be. Tuning out other things. More sophisticated? Not sure. So much information hitting them nowadays. Couldn’t go anywhere in Ohio and know who Beto O’Rourke was. It does enable better fundraising, not just from New York, California. The amount of information and the amount on TV more, on FB, Twitter, raised level of interest in politics. As to cynicism, people want real content now (Beto’s dentistry). They want to know more about their candidates. Short videos on local matters, even a staged real moment, that type of footage will be more prevalent. Lot less expensive to produce.

Joe: AOC’s college dance, Beto’s hygiene, still a hot medium.

Doug: regardless of platform, there is a social media platform that people prefer. Candidates, companies will chase whatever platform people will go to naturally. Was FB, dying off, no ads on Twitter. There will be a social network that candidates tap into.

Always jealous of the Democrats. We don’t Like sharing what we do, quieter online. Tell all your friends that you’re volunteering for this. Our people would rather look through phone book, select 20 friends Instead of FB page. Big difference in how to mobilize people.  

Joe: Are people inured?

Doug: I don’t know how you couldn’t close off at least a bit. Tired of shutdown, etc. authenticity at the candidate level. RNC had advantage in fundraising in that you had a sitting president. For volunteers, they have to believe in what they’re doing a lot more than what they used to. People have to believe a lot more in why they’re doing something.

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