Romney Digital Team to Unload Data, Campaign Details to RNC

Hopes to Provide Guide to What Worked, What Didn't

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The Mitt's VP app was one of the digital tools that collected voter data.
The Mitt's VP app was one of the digital tools that collected voter data.

Mitt Romney's campaign got a lot of flak for the GOP candidate's "binders full of women" comment during a debate, but post-election Romney campaign binders could help the Republican Party.

The Romney camp is in the process of handing over hundreds of pages of documentation in binders detailing its digital campaign efforts throughout the 2012 season. The digital team hopes it becomes a valuable source of practical information showing what was done online, what worked and what didn't.

Analysis of website optimization, email marketing efforts and online ad targeting are among the types of information that is included in the documents, which the Romney camp will give to the Republican National Committee's digital team, headed up by RNC Director of Digital Strategy Tyler Brown.

The document pass-along will complement the Romney campaign data that will eventually be provided to the RNC. Information on donors and volunteers collected by the joint fundraising committee of the Romney campaign and the RNC -- emails, addresses, which events they attended, etc. -- will be transferred to the RNC.

"This will increase overnight the RNC donor file" by a massive amount, said Zac Moffatt, who served as digital director for the Romney 2012 campaign. "This will dwarf anything Republicans have done before," he said regarding the transfer of data and digital campaign information. Mr. Moffatt previously worked as RNC director of political education.

During the election and even more so since Mr. Romney lost his bid for the presidency, the campaign has been panned by GOP insiders including digital consultants who argue the Romney digital team was not as sophisticated or capable as the Obama campaign's digital team. Whether this effort will quell their concerns is anybody's guess.

Yet to be determined is what will become of the information collected by the Romney campaign itself, before the Romney Victory Fund was established, and afterwards through campaign-specific communications.

Among the databases built up through the Romney campaign and Victory Fund is a Salesforce database with "millions of data points," said Mr. Moffatt.

Some of the campaign details and results included in the information to be sent to the RNC were informed by Keystone Solutions, an outside firm used by Targeted Victory, the Republican digital agency that handled the campaign's digital ads and related work. Mr. Moffatt described Keystone as a "third-party validator" used to validate multivariate testing of things like ad copy or email messaging. The company was used throughout the campaign during the primaries onward, he said.

Keystone also dissected the Obama campaign's YouTube channel structure, including how videos were tagged or categorized, for competitive intelligence purposes for the Romney camp.

In addition to an "Optimization Binder," the information passed along to the RNC will include an "Analytics Binder" detailing analytics on list building, strategies for auto-fill amounts for donation forms, data on search-engine-optimization ROI, and more. All the information in the takeaway binders -- around 300 pages in total -- has been written by Targeted Victory, said Mr. Moffatt.

Mr. Moffatt is a co-founder of Targeted Victory and said the company provides similar documents to its clients showing aggregated information on campaigns it works with after election cycles.

The exact timeframe for transfer of the data is something "we're working through right now," said Mr. Moffatt. "We're figuring it out as we shut down Romney for President."

President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign team is in a similar quandary. Both campaigns must coax their supporters to opt-in to receiving messages from their respective parties going forward.

"At a macro level everything will be passed over," said Mr. Moffatt. In order to share data gathered by the Romney camp itself -- things like supporter contact information, amounts they donated, where they attended events, issues they cared about, and so on, "we need to onboard these people into the committee," he said.

"We're working on determining exactly how that relationship looks," Mr. Moffatt added. To help woo Romney supporters to the RNC's list, the campaign is sending out surveys and questionnaires to volunteers and donors to record how they'd like to be communicated to in the future. "These are the same challenges that the [Democratic National Committee] and Obama folks are working on," said Mr. Moffatt.

Emails from Obama for America have been sent to supporters recently asking them to respond to survey questions about how they were contacted by the campaign, what they believed to be effective, and how they might want to help out in the future. According to The Washington Post, party members are hoping to get their hands on the Obama campaign's vast database ahead of upcoming elections.

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