Launched two weeks ago, Obama’s newest innovation is the much anticipated “Dashboard” , a sophisticated and highly interactive platform that gives supporters a blueprint for organizing, and communicating with each other and the campaign.
In addition, by harnessing the growing power of Facebook and other online sources, the campaign is building what some see as an unprecedented data base to develop highly specific profiles of potential voters. This allows the campaign to tailor messages directly to them- depending on factors such as socio-economic level, age, and interests.
The data also allows the campaign to micro-target a range of dollar solicitations online depending on the recipient. In 2008, the campaign was the first ever to maximize online giving—raising hundreds of millions of dollars from small donors. This go around, they are constantly experimenting and testing to expand the donor base.Some advances since 2008:
• Created a holistic, totally in-house digital operation that is the largest department at campaign headquarters. In 2008, much of the social media and video was generated organically from supporters. As one campaign official put it, “digital is no longer a part of the campaign. It is the campaign.”
• Hired a number of non-political tech innovators, software engineers and statisticians. “It has been incredibly freeing, because all election campaigns are a slave to history, and the history here is just nonexistent,” says Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. “So, we’ve been able to kind of reinvent it.”
• Invested mightily in cutting edge technology that scales the website to fit the screen of any device. With nearly half of the U.S. population using smart phones, “responsive design” allows a user to give money and volunteer without bifocals...
• Developed a more complex symbiosis between the campaign and Facebook, which is ten times bigger that it was four years go, and has far more personal information available to mine. ...
• Opened the first all-volunteer. all-digital office in San Francisco where knowledgeable techies drop in for a few hours and strive to develop new software for the campaign under the supervision of paid staff.
• Staffed a full-time digital director in each of about a dozen battleground states to effectively run mini-general election campaigns in those states.