National political correspondent Jim Rutenberg has a killer piece in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine about the digital whiz kids who steered Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.
Previous campaigns would make decisions about how to direct their television-advertising budgets largely based on hunches and deductions about what channels the voters they wanted to reach were watching. Their choices were informed by the broad viewership ratings of Nielsen and other survey data, which typically led to buying relatively expensive ads during evening-news and prime-time viewing hours. The 2012 campaign took advantage of advanced set-top-box monitoring technology to figure out what shows the voters they wanted to reach were watching and when, resulting in a smarter and cheaper — if potentially more invasive — way to beam commercials into their homes. The system gave Obama a significant advantage over Mitt Romney, according to Democrats and many Republicans (at least those who were not on Romney’s media team).
How much of an advantage? Money quote (tip o’ the pixel to Politico Playbook):
Obama ran nearly twice as many cable ads as Romney did, 588,006, on more than twice as many channels, 100 … [A]n analysis by the Republican ad-buying firm National Media found that Obama paid roughly 35 percent less per broadcast commercial than Romney did. Kantar Media CMAG, an ad-monitoring firm, showed that Obama and his supporting super PAC got nearly 40,000 more spots on the air than Romney and his super PACs did despite spending roughly $90 million less.
That’s a clock-cleaning of historic – and aspirational – proportions.
Your 2016 presidential campaign goes here.